This Artist Residency Is Specifically Designed for Artists with Children
Artists Faina Lerman and Graem Whyte know how difficult it is to simultaneously raise kids and maintain a studio practice. “Just finding headspace to think like an artist can be tricky, because your mind is so filled with raising a family, taking care of day-to-day things,” Lerman told Artsyfrom her Detroit home on a recent morning.
As we spoke, she was also helping her six-year-old daughter, Isadora, choose a bathing suit for their upcoming camping trip (they settled on a pink two-piece covered in pineapples). Through the phone, I could hear Isadora running around, tugging at her mom.
“Your mind is thinking about other people all the time,” Lerman continued. “It’s almost a luxury to stop and say, ‘What do I want to make?’”
It was this conundrum that propelled Lerman and Whyte to open Momm and Popp, an artist residency for parents in 2016.
By that point, they’d become parents twice—to Isadora, in 2011, and Joseph “JoJo,” in 2013—and had already faced the challenge of juggling parenthood and their respective practices for several years. (Lerman is a performance artist and Whyte is a sculptor and builder.)
Simultaneously, they’d begun to build out their homestead in Hamtramck, a small city located in the center of Detroit (an area hit particularly hard by the city’s 2013 bankruptcy). There, they’ve hosted shows in a nonprofit gallery at the front of their home, which became known as Popps Packing, and invited artists for short stays on their property, which includes a woodshop; multiple bedrooms and studios; and two large yards complete with a chicken coop, two pet dogs, a vintage-van-turned-sauna, and a colorful smattering of outdoor sculptures and toys—sometimes delightfully difficult to distinguish from each other.
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