Children interact with the Artist-in-Residency program at The DoSeum Credit: Courtesy / The DoSeum

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The first-grader positioned the tail just so, careful to place it firmly but gently at the base of the dragon’s body. The project started as an artificial articulating mandible for a crocodile – an imaginative use of prosthetics at any age – and morphed as passion for the crocodile’s mythical cousins and love of creating took over. By the time the student left the Design Lab, the dragon skeleton was fully formed, including four legs, wings and (of course) the tail.

This young inventor was participating in The DoSeum’s Prosthetic Proposals workshop, part of a series of hands-on design challenges hosted in the Design Lab. The expansive space, nestled in the heart of the Dream Tomorrow Today exhibit and filled with everyday objects made uniform through a thick coat of white paint, was the brainchild of local artist Gregorio Mannino.

Mannino and Austin-based artist Calder Kamin both served as Artists-in-Residence during Dream Tomorrow Today’s run. If you visited The DoSeum last year, chances are good you ran through Kamin’s colorful, striking installation filled with flowers and animals made from discarded plastic bags, straws, and cutlery, a thought-provoking, age-appropriate statement on sustainability and reuse.

In addition to providing immersive environments to spark creativity, Mannino and Kamin both led hands-on workshops designed to engage young guests around central themes of their work.

The DoSeum is currently in the process of soliciting proposals for its third artist-in-residence (Richard Armendariz inaugurated the program in 2017), set for a 6- to 8-week exhibition during November and December of this year. Competitive applicants are local or regional professional mid-career artists with experience creating socially engaged, participatory art.

The social engagement component may include elements like participatory workshops, focus groups, performances or interactive elements embedded within installations. Artists are encouraged to incorporate outreach components into their proposals (for example, visits to local schools or public lectures).

“The essential driver is a desire to collaborate with DoSeum staff to create and execute an exhibition and related programming that is innovative, educational and right for a birth-11 audience,” says The DoSeum’s Art Education Manager, Orlando Graves Bolaños. He adds, “Through this residency, we want to cultivate a love for both artistic processes and their products in children, exposing them (and perhaps their caregivers) to the accessibility of contemporary art.”

Proposals are being accepted now through May 31. After an initial review, selected finalists will be invited to present in late June-early July. Recipients will be announced Friday, July 19, and will have the remainder of the summer and the fall of 2019 for design, prototyping, production, and installation. To be competitive in the selection process, applicants should be consistently available for in-person meetings during this time frame.

The selected artist or artists (up to two may be chosen) will receive an honorarium of up to $6,000 and production costs of up to $10,000. Graves Bolaños will be hosting tours and information sessions for interested applicants on May 16 and May 21 from 4:30-6:00 p.m.

To learn more about The DoSeum and the Artist-in-Residence program please visit: or contact The DoSeum’s Art Education Manager at

Katie Sirakos is the founder and owner of Spark Storytelling, a grant writing and strategy consultancy serving nonprofits in the San Antonio area. She may be reached at