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Rachel Gorchov Artist-in-Residence 2018

POSTED ON: April 2, 2019


The painting studios at Cooper Union are my happy place. I spent as much of June of 2018 as I possibly could making paintings in my sun-lit studio in the middle of the village, on a high floor in Cooper Square. It’s a real gift to make art in a studio that was designed to be an artist studio, a luxury that artists working in New York rarely, if ever have. It’s this experience that makes the Artist-In-Residence program at Cooper Union unique, and not something I realized I missed until I got there.


I surprised myself by the amount of work I was able to produce, insights I gained about my work, studio visits I was able to arrange. Again, it comes back to the space. There is something about that space that encourages creative contemplation and production. My palette changed, I distilled my subject matter, and personal logic that drives my subject matter.


I worked alongside four other residents, all of us with our own dedicated studio space. Each of us had different goals for our time at Cooper Union. As someone who teaches, the academic year is very full. My personal goals included simply prioritizing studio work above all else. An artist duo from Los Angeles, Theresa Sterner and Zach Trow, used their time to conduct field research and begin a large collaborative project. Sara Murphy completed an ambitious series of paintings, and Rachelle Dang used the momentum she had gained after recently finishing her MFA to realize a large-scale installation. 


Throughout the residency, the Summer Art Intensive students and faculty would respectfully visit my studio. In addition to the community discourse I had with the other residents, the conversations that emerged in these visits with high school students encouraged me to go back in time and remember where I was at their age, what led me to this point in my life, how I became and continue to work as an artist.


The residency culminated in presentations by students and the resident artists, then an exhibition. As an artist who primarily works in a home studio and as an educator who rarely gets to be a fly on the wall in others’ classrooms, this opportunity to have a window into others’ studios, teaching practices, and student experiences was quite gratifying. I’d jump at the chance to attend this residency again.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.