Nawat Fes offers funded residencies in the eighth-century medina of Fes, Morocco to U.S. and international creators in multiple disciplines. The initiative engages art to cultivate understanding among multifaceted cultures through the exchange of ideas. Hosted by the American Language Center / Arabic Language Institute in Fez, a member of the American Cultural Association, Nawat Fes is a new program that hosted its first residencies in May 2022.
Through the American Language Center and its Arabic Language Institute in Fez (ALC-ALIF), Nawat Fes artists will have access to multilingual staff support and opportunities for engagement with the wider community of Fes. The ALC’s main facility in Fes’ New City includes a large garden with a café, library, and bookstore, where Moroccans and students of Arabic from around the world congregate to share ideas and participate in the ALC’s range of public programs. The ALIF Riad, a spacious traditional house built around a courtyard garden of orange trees, offers additional space in the medina available for exhibitions and public programs.
Artist residents will live and work in the ancient medina of Fes, which is considered one of the most extensive and best-conserved historic cities of the Arab-Muslim world. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Fes medina is one of the world’s largest pedestrian zones, containing narrow alleyways leading to ancient architectural treasures, traditional houses, artisan workshops and open-air markets. Within this unique setting, Nawat Fes provides a supportive environment for research, reflection, and artistic practice, allowing artists from around the world to experience and learn from Moroccan culture, and to contribute to the local cultural conversation.
Nawat Fes offers four residency periods each year of roughly two months each. Artists are expected to arrive at the beginning of each residency period and stay through the end of the residency period. Please see the Nawat Fes website for residency periods.
Nawat Fes artist residents will be expected to offer two opportunities for our community to engage with their work. These could be public programs such as a talk, performance, reading, lecture, workshop or concert, or an exhibition of their work during the residency. These programs are intended for local students of English and/or international students of Arabic, as well as the local community. Artists should be prepared to engage with our community in English or Arabic.
There will be optional opportunities for Nawat Fes artist residents to engage in further public programming for the Moroccan community at American Language Centers in 11 other cities around Morocco, during or after their residency.
Each artist has a simple, private studio space in Dar Bennis that is separate from their living space. Our current facilities have some limitations for visual artists and artists working in sound. In the future, we will explore partnerships that will enable us to expand access to dedicated studio space for artists working in visual arts, music and sound.
• Limitations of Visual Arts Studios. At present, simple visual arts studios are located in Dar Bennis. Studios do not have any special equipment. Because Dar Bennis is a shared live-work space, artists may not use materials in the studios that will create fumes.
• Limitations of studios for sound-based artists. Because of the shared nature of the live-work space, at the time of our launch we do not have facilities in which sound-based artists can play their work at full volume. Currently, musicians, composers and sound artists are welcome to apply who are able to work within the space productively using their own headphones and equipment in a way that will not disturb the other artist resident in Dar Bennis.
Two artists at one time reside and work on separate floors of Dar Bennis, a restored traditional Moroccan house in the old medina, tucked away not far from the main street. Each artist will have a bedroom, a private bath, and a basic studio in the house. The house has wifi, a shared kitchen, a laundry room and a roof terrace with a view of the medina. As the rooms in Dar Bennis all open onto an interior courtyard, perfect quiet in the living and work spaces cannot be assured. There are several great cafes nearby that also make excellent off-site working environments.
Artist collaboratives should apply together by submitting ONE application per group, specifying the number of individuals on the application form. Nawat Fes can accommodate no more 3 artists in a collaborative group.