Art at Grace
Artist in Residence
Art is an integral part of our vision and mission.
Art is transcendent. It represents the best of what makes us human. It connects us to others and also to ourselves. Every year since 2012 we have offered a residency to artists to create work illuminating the cathedral’s annual theme, and reimagining church as they do so.
2023 Artist in Residence
The groundbreaking vocal virtuoso Bobby McFerrin & MOTION (Bryan Dyer, David Worm, Destani Wolf, Tammi Brown) is Grace Cathedral’s 2023 Artist in Residence (AiR). McFerrin, a ten-time Grammy-winning artist, was recently honored by The Recording Academy with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his four decades of musical innovation, including his globally celebrated a cappella Record Of The Year, ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’. Above all Bobby’s art has always been about connecting people through the unlimited possibilities of our voices, and to open our hearts and minds to the creative spirit within ourselves.
McFerrin will complement this year’s theme of “Year of Poetry” by bringing six days of his iconic circlesongschool workshop to the cathedral, which will include The Unbroken Circlesong: 24 Hours of Circlesongs, inviting singers of all levels to join him and his international faculty in spontaneous vocal adventures. He and MOTION also offer Circlesongs monthly before the Choral Eucharist Service, usually on the third Sunday of the month.
2022 Artist in Residence
As our 2022 Artist in Residence, Lee contemplated the Year of Connection and shared his story and inspiration at cornerstone events such as The Forum, Yoga on the Labyrinth, and Choral Eucharist. He offered an epic performance of his work, Our Labyrinth For Grace, in which dancers use a stylized broom to sweep a mound of rice along a labyrinthian path of their choosing.
2019 Year of the Body
During his residency, King spoke at the cathedral’s conversation series, The Forum, and preached at Choral Eucharist on Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday. His company, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, was a major presence, holding workshops and showcases and both King and LINES Ballet were celebrated at a special Evensong. The residency culminated in sold-out performances of GRACE, a new work responding to the cathedral’s theme.
2018 Year of Truth
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.
2017 Year of the Gift
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.
Benjamin Bergery and Jim Campbell
2016 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.
Elaine Buckholtz and Floor van de Velde
2015 Year of Technology
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.
2014 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.
2013 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.
Anna Deavere Smith
2012 Year of 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.