Candor Arts 2019 Reading Residency Winners

We are very excited to announce the winners of our third annual Reading Residency: 

Jen Delos Reyes

Reading Residency — Chicago, IL

Jen Delos Reyes ,  2019 Chicago Reading Residency Winner,  Photo credit: Marta Sasinowska

Jen Delos Reyes, 2019 Chicago Reading Residency Winner, Photo credit: Marta Sasinowska

Jen Delos Reyes is a creative laborer, educator, writer, and radical community arts organizer. Her practice is as much about working with institutions as it is about creating and supporting sustainable artist-led culture. Delos Reyes worked within Portland State University from 2008-2014 to create the first flexible residency Art and Social Practice MFA program in the United States and devised the curriculum that focused on place, engagement, and dialogue.  During that time she also worked with the Portland Art Museum from on a series of programs and integrated systems that allowed artists to rethink what can happen in a museum, and reinvigorate the idea of the museum as a public space.

She is the director and founder of Open Engagement, an artist-led initiative, publishing arm, and conference committed to expanding the dialogue around and serving as a site of care for the field of socially engaged art. 

Delos Reyes is the author of I’m Going to Live the Life I Sing About in My Song: How Artists Make and Live Lives of Meaning, a book exploring the artist impetus toward art and everyday life. Her next book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Public Engagement* *But Were Afraid to Ask, will be released in fall 2019.

Delos Reyes currently lives and works in Chicago, IL where she is the Associate Director of the School of Art and Art History at the University of Illinois Chicago.

on working toward social progress, Jen writes:

Since 2006 I have been the unpaid Director of Open Engagement (OE). OE is an artist-led initiative committed to expanding the dialogue around and serving as a site of care for the field of socially engaged art. We highlight the work of transdisciplinary artists, activists, students, scholars, community members, and organizations working within the complex social issues and struggles of our time. OE has presented ten conferences in two countries and six cities, hosting over 1,800 presenters and over 7,000 attendees. In addition, OE managed a publishing arm, and assembled a national consortium of institutions, colleges, and funders all dedicated to supporting artists engaged in this necessary and critical work.

OE was the basis of my education, and has been a major foundation of my work as an educator, and artist for the past thirteen years.

Since 2012 I have been tracking how many emails I send related to OE. On average I send 4000 emails a year on this subject alone. In 2014 I sent and archived 4553 emails connected to OE. If I spent an average of 4 minutes per email that would equal 302 hours, which is eight weeks of full-time labor just on emails. And this doesn’t even factor in the emails I write for my full-time job as an administrator.

In all the years I’ve worked on OE there was only one time someone insisted that I be paid for my labor. It was 2014 and I was in a meeting with Tom Finkelpearl representing the Queens Museum and a few others from organizations we were working with that year. Tom said, right now your are the only person at this table not being paid for your work and that is not OK. The budget was amended and I was paid an honorarium through the museum. Imagine how different things would look if there were more people in positions of power at institutions insisting that all the people they work with are paid and valued for their labor?

In 2019 OE is embarking on a research year to re-assess and evaluate the needs of the field. We also just need a fucking break. I used to be proud of the labor of love I poured into OE, and now I’m not. I don't want to uphold and romanticize a lot of the kind of work myself and many others did in order to make a necessary site of care for the field of socially engaged art possible. 

I commend our resourcefulness, and our work ethic, but we modeled an unsustainable system of artist led culture. I don't want artist run to be synonymous with low pay or no pay, and I don't want the cost of finding our community to be at a personal loss. I know that there are better pathways forward forward for artist led culture, and supporting artists and cultural producers working at the intersection of art and activism. It is now a matter of finding those ways forward.


Jose Luis Benavides

Reading Residency — Valencia, Spain (The Liminal)

Jose Luis Benavides ,  2019 Valencia Reading Residency Winner,   Photo credit: Maria Efting

Jose Luis Benavides, 2019 Valencia Reading Residency Winner,

Photo credit: Maria Efting

Jose Luis Benavides (b. 1986 Chicago, US) is a queer Latinx artist, filmmaker and educator. He recently held his first solo show at Terremoto - La Postal, Mexico City, MX (2018) featuring portions of the experimental documentary project Lulú en el Jardín. His video art has screened at the Museum of Contemporary Art Alfredo Zalce, Morelia, MX; the Bernardo Quintana Art Center, MX; and the Museum of Art of Tlaxcala, MX as part of the international festival of video and performance, Homography | Homography (2018). He has also exhibited video work at Dual Gallery, Budapest, HU (2019), Michigan State University’s Union Gallery, Lansing, US (2019); Screen Share Video Gallery - Logan Center for the Arts, Chicago, US (2019); and Qalandiya International, Ramallah, PS (2018), The Nightingale (2017); Links Hall (2016). His work has also screened at festivals including CinHomo - Muestra Internacional de Cine y Diversidad Sexual, Valladolid, ES (2019), Cadence Video Poetry Festival, Seattle, US (2019), Collected Voices, Chicago, US (2018); 2nd Floor Rear Festival, Chicago, US (2017); and S2F2: Scored Silent Film Festival, Chicago, US (2013). His videos have also featured on various digital media such as Queer Moving Image Review, US (2018), Video Video Zine, US (2015), and Gothic Angle, UK (2016). Benavides also programs a video-art series called Sin Cinta Previa: Latinx & Queer Archive Video Series which he was awarded a POWER Project grant from the Art Leaders of Color Network (2018). He received an MFA from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2017.

on working toward social progress, Jose writes:

I'm currently the organizer of Sin Cinta Previa, a Latin(a)x and Queer Archive Video Series which ran for 7 days at Comfort Station, Chicago (June 2019) and 2 days at filmfront, Chicago (October 2018). I'm preparing for my next series of screenings across the city, bridging artists from Mexico City and Chicago. This work of place holding and providing platforms for other queer and Latinx artists to dialogue and share their work with wider audience is crucial to my vision of a more just and understanding world. I make art, write and teach in a similar fashion. I offer up my passion for art as a conduit for change and make art which I hope may serve as a catalyst for community building.

My documentary Lulu en el Jardín (about the institutionalization of my lesbian, immigrant, Latina mother in the mid-1970's) is making its European debut at CinHomo festival in Valladolid. I'm thrilled to spend the week in Spain, but this trip cuts right into my time as an adjunct professor at Wilbur Wright College. I'm currently teaching an intro to photography course as well as working at the Back of the Yards public library as a teen services librarian. Both of these jobs are demanding and require that I prepare lessons, program and interact with diverse youth across the city every day. Needless to say, working two jobs doesn't provide a lot of time for my personal reading and research. This residency would be a breath of fresh air and a moment to prepare myself for future syllabus I'm developing, a seminar on Latinx video art history which will tie in a recent research trip I took to Mexico City and my thesis work from my MFA at UIC (2017).

2019 Reading residents: 

The Reading Residents received the highest number of votes from the respective city juries. They will each receive an accommodating residency on a weekend of their choosing, a $150 stipend for reading material + food, and a STILL LEARNING tote including Candor Arts publications.  

Honorable Mentions:

These applicants tied for second place and will receive a gifted book of their choosing.

Bea Cordelia

BEA CORDELIA is an award-winning, Chicago-bred, LA-based, internationally slandered writer, filmmaker, performer, actor, director, producer, educator, and activist whose work uplifts and reimagines the narratives of transgender people. Last year she released her web series the T with co-creator Daniel Kyri, which won a Streamy Award for Best Indie Series, and for which they were named Chicago’s 2018 Filmmakers-in-Residence. Her “life-changing” solo show Chasing Blue has been featured in the iconic Steppenwolf Theatre, as well as seen regional productions in Brooklyn and Minneapolis. In previous years she developed her multimedia installation The Cosmic Body in a residency at the University of Chicago, was made a Luminarts Creative Writing Fellow in poetry, and sued the City of Chicago over an outdated ordinance forbidding the exposure of "the female breast at or below the areola thereof" in establishments with liquor licenses. She is currently penning her first full-length book, a memoir about her life as a trans woman during the Trump years, and just reissued her acclaimed chapbook of poetry, 28.06 // Dear Sylvia, which recounts the history and impact of the Stonewall riots, 50 years ago this June. She is represented by Circle of Confusion and Paonessa Talent Agency. 

See more of her work at, and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @beacordelia.

Danielle McCoy

Danielle McCoy is an artist, mother, educator, writer, and one half of WORK/PLAY. McCoy is a self-taught conceptual artist that intertwines printmaking techniques with sewing, and hand-dyed textiles into her interdisciplinary art practice. Through small run publications and arts programming, she serves to build safe spaces of belonging by incorporating spirituality and intentionality.  As a storyteller, her art books explore gender and identity by addressing issues rooted in race and inequality in America. Each book is designed and created in-house with WORK/PLAY and sold exclusively at Art Book Fairs around the country.

Leila Weefur

Leila Weefur is an artist, writer, and curator who lives and works in Oakland, CA. She received her MFA from Mills College. She tackles the complexities of phenomenological Blackness through video, installation, printmaking, and lecture-performances. Using materials and visual gestures to access the tactile memory, she explores the abject, the sensual and the nuances found in the social interactions and language with which our bodies have to negotiate space.

She is a recipient of the Hung Liu award, the Murphy & Cadogan award, and the Walter & Elise Haas Creative Work Fund. Weefur has worked with local and national institutions including SFMOMA, Southern Exposure, The Wattis, and Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, and Smack Mellon in Brooklyn, New York. She is the Audio/Video, Editor In Chief at Art Practical.

Janna Añonuevo Langholz

Janna Añonuevo Langholz is an interdisciplinary artist born and based in St. Louis, MO. She is the founder of Filipino American Artist Directory, an independent initiative to connect and make visible the broad community of visual artists of Filipino American artists living and working in the United States. It aims to increase the recognition of Filipino American artists through an online resource and series of publications, as well as group events and exhibitions, commissioned works, and collaborations with other artists and organizations. / @jannanonymous / @filamartistdirectory

We would like to offer our sincerest thanks

to our dear collaborators at The Liminal in Valencia,

and to this year's thoughtful and generous Panel of Jurors:




(Chicago, IL) — Researcher and Writer


(San Francisco, CA) — Artist, Writer, Editor in Chief of Art Practical, Founding Editor of Nonsensical, Founder & Publisher of Sming Sming Books


(Chicago, IL) — Exhibition Organizer; Co-Founder, The Petty Biennial; Arts worker at Project&;  creator of How to Make A Hood (Candor Arts, August 2015)


(Los Angeles, CA) — Artist


(Chicago, IL) — Artist, Singer, Executive Director at 062 Gallery


(Chicago, IL) — Artist, Educator, Organizer


(Chicago, IL) — interdisciplinary artist/curator & arts administrator


(Pittsburgh, PA / Brooklyn, NY) — Designer, art director, principal of Studio Elana Schlenker and Out of Office, and publisher of Gratuitous Type


(Los Angeles, CA) — Space Operator of Visitor Welcome Center, author of Bye Bye Broadway (Candor Arts, August 2016)


(Peekskill, NY) — Artist, author of A Lick and a Promise (Candor Arts, September 2017)


(Chicago, IL) — "Curator," organizer, and skater, Residency & Public Programs Manager @ Hyde Park Art Center


(Fairfax, VA) — Artist and Assistant Professor at George Mason University


(Los Angeles, CA) — Professor, Visual Journalist


(Carrizozo, NM) — Artist and Co-Founder of Carrizozo Artist in Residence and MoMAZoZo


(Chicago, IL) — Artist


(Chicago, IL) — Artist



(Valencia, Spain) — Translator


(Valencia, Spain) — Artist and PhD Candidate


(Valencia, Spain) — Art Historian and Communication Manager


(Santiago de Chile) —Artist and Editor at Naranja Publicaciones


(Santiago de Chile) — Artist, Architect and Editor at Naranja Publicaciones


(Valencia, Spain) — Artist, Writer and Co-founder at The Liminal


(Valencia, Spain) — Illustrator, Visual Communicator and Co-founder at The Liminal