Take a Look Inside the Crosstown Arts Residency Program

Article written by: Mary Jo Karimnia

Crosstown Arts offers multidisciplinary residencies to visiting and Memphis-based artists and curators working in any creative discipline including visual and performing arts, music, film, and writing in all genres.

Don’t know what an Artist Residency is? At a basic level, it is time and space for artists to do their work. 

Photo: Crosstown Arts Resident Vitus Shell (@theshellofvitus)

The Crosstown Arts Residency Program hosts up to 12 multi-disciplinary residents per session and about 45 residents per year. The program offers individuals and collaborative teams private studio space, living space for out-of-town residents, food, and free access to the Shared Art-making facilities. 

The program hosts local creatives along with national and international talent, building cohorts that include residents of different backgrounds and experiences and at different points in their professional careers.

There are even special facilities and accommodations for residents with families. This networking and cross-pollination of ideas and approaches brings an amazing depth to the program—and the residents along with the general public get to reap the benefits through resident talks and open studio events that happen throughout the year. 

Applications are open from May 15 – July 15 for all residencies for the following year. Applications are scored by a rotating group of local, national, and international panelists who specialize in various disciplines.

Learn more information about the residency here.

Check out the highlights from a few past residents:

  • Maeve Brophy, a Memphis-based classical pianist, moved a grand piano into a Studio House for Musicians and produced videos of music by under-represented composers. She also brought her 5-year daughter with her regularly. 
Maeve Brophys
  • Tom Cho, a writer based in Canada, worked on his novel in a corner residency space on the second floor with large windows on two walls. 
  • Vitus Shell, a painter from Louisiana, worked on large-scale paintings based on real people in his community that elevate the Black experience. 
  • Memphis-based Sepideh Tajalizadeh Dashti brought her two young children to her studio while she worked on installation pieces and performance work that reflect her experience as an Iranian woman.

Sepideh Tajalizadeh Dashti

  • Local videographer, filmmaker, and singer, Zaire Love, produced on a heartfelt documentary about the men in her family that reflects her southern Black experience. 
  • Local artist and nurse, Sharon Havelka, made elaborate quilts that evolved into sculptural pieces, beginning with family garments and donated or found fabrics that she dyed with natural elements. 
Sharon Havelka
  • Laura Ann Samuelson, a dancer from Colorado created a raised dance floor that she weaved in and out of during an intimate performance in her studio space.
  • Local Sarah Elizabeth Cornejo made futuristic sculptures with natural materials including pig hairs collected on her family farm in South Carolina. She also worked on a large-scale sculpture based on a pothole in the road near her home in the Binghampton neighborhood. 
Sarah Elizabeth Cornejo
  • Shanna Strauss and Jessica Sabogal are visual artists based in California who sourced local barn wood for an ongoing project highlighting the work of women of color.
Jessica Sabogal and Shanna Strauss
  • Anthony Wilson is a jazz guitarist and photographer who made weekly trips to Mississippi to research his personal family history, take photos and write music for an upcoming album.
Anthony Wilson
  • Tim Prudhomme, a local musician and music producer, brought together local musicians who had never worked together for a show in the Green Room. 
  • Jia Wang, originally from China, brought a large rock from the Mississippi River to incorporate into her installation work about family history and trauma that included images transferred onto natural elements like dried leaves.

Are you an artist or do you know an artist who would benefit from the Crosstown Arts residency program?

Get the FAQs, and deadlines here.

For questions please email residency@crosstownarts.org or the Residency Manager, Mary Jo Karimnia maryjo@crosstownarts.org.

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