Every year since 2012 we have offered a residency to an artist who creates work illuminating the cathedral’s annual theme, amplifying the cathedral’s vision, mission and goals. We have an Artist in Residence program because we believe in the power of art to inspire people and we want to make art accessible to everyone.
Our 2019 Artist in Residence: Alonzo King
Grace Cathedral chose internationally-celebrated choreographer Alonzo King as its Artist in Residence for 2019, when the cathedral’s annual theme was “The Year of the Body.” During his residency, King spoke at the cathedral’s conversation series, The Forum, in May and again in October, and preached at Choral Eucharist on Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday. His company, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, was a major presence, holding workshops in Hip Hop, Belly Dance and for children and for people with Parkinson’s Disease. LINES’s Training and BFA Programs offered showcases in the cathedral in November and January. Both King and LINES Ballet were celebrated at a special Evensong in September. The residency culminated in the performances of GRACE, a new work responding to the cathedral’s theme that was performed at the cathedral to sold-out audiences in February 2020.
Past Artists in Residence
Our 2018 Artist in Residence Sukey Bryan addressed the truth about climate change and brightened the cathedral with many colorful installations, among them ones for Earth Day, Pentecost and the opening Multi-Faith Service for the Global Climate Action Summit . Bryan also created work with cathedral visitors, the yoga community, the Summer Arts campers, the Community Preschool and the Cathedral School for Boys.
In 2017, “The Gift” inspired the cathedral’s first spoken word Artist in Residence, Sarah Kay, to write a poem in honor of the theme in addition to presenting and enlightening audiences at a range of exciting cathedral events.
Sarah has shared her poetry in venues and classrooms around the world. She is perhaps best known for her talk at the 2011 TED conference that has been viewed over ten million times.
Relive her performances with great images and videos on our guide to Sarah Kay’s residency at the Cathedral.
In 2016, the “Year of Home,” artists Benjamin Bergery and Jim Campbell created two light installations during their residency:
Jacob’s Dream: A Luminous Path, an installation of light and moving images currently hanging in the cathedral, was designed to evoke a pathway between earth and heaven, between the visible and invisible. They also premiered Miracle Fragments, a two-night-only light and sound event evoking different Biblical miracles.
Bergery, a media artist and cinematographer, and Campbell, a light artist whose work is in the collections of both the New York and San Francisco Museums of Modern Art, have previously collaborated on critically-acclaimed projects.
In 2015, the Year of Technology, artists Elaine Buckholtz and Floor van de Velde of Nighthouse Studio were invited to be Grace Cathedral’s 2015 Artists in Residence.
Buckholtz and van de Velde explore the medium of light and sound as ephemeral phenomena with the potential to unmask hidden aspects of architectural forms and to activate space. As the Artists in Residence, they premiered their work, Fields of Prayer, an integrative, immersive light and sound installation. They presented several live performances, and several exterior presentations of the installation.
In 2014, the Year of Sustainability, Oakland-based eco-chef, food justice activist and author Bryant Terry educated the community about how a more just, healthier food system supports healthy communities. He also delighted us with vegetarian menus and presentations as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations. Learn more about Bryant Terry.
In 2013, the Year of Music, New York visual artist Anne Patterson produced multi-sensory evenings of visual art and music, collaborating with renowned cellist Joshua Roman and composer and conductor Paul Haas, and created a stunning, music-inspired aerial installation with 20 miles of ribbon, titled Graced with Light. View a film about Graced with Light by Three Bridges West, and learn more about Anne Patterson.
In 2012, the theme was Grace. Actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith became the cathedral’s first Artist in Residence. The premiere of her work in progress, “On Grace,” with accompaniment by cellist Joshua Roman, was presented over two nights in sold out performances.