Artists-in-Residence

Art is the opportunity to remove the veils of our own thinking.

Artists bring to life complex ideas and concepts. They interpret and reflect the world around us. They expand the boundaries of our imagination, of possibilities. Artists are essential to social change because they help us dream and help us portray the world we seek.

As people who want to walk with our partners, Thousand Currents aims to continually improve the practice in deep listening and collaboration, which is at the heart of making art and the heart of social transformation.

Thousand Currents began its Artists-in-Residence Program in 2015 to continually explore the relationship between art, healing, and community building. Through this program, we identify and partner with exceptional artists who share their talents, passion, and insights with our team and global partners. Over a designated period of time, the artists use their residency to create and deepen their work, while contributing to Thousand Currents’ work through staff trainings, learning exchanges, and formal and informal collaborative opportunities.

You can learn about our program here.

“Art-making practices are ways to return to traditional (and re-imagined) ways of living, of being ourselves most fully... The vulnerability, humility, and courage it takes to be an artist is something that can improve Thousand Currents’ work with their partners - as facilitators and as grantmakers.”

– Sharon Bridgforth and Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones

Sharon Bridgforth

A child of the Great African-American Migration, Sharon Bridgforth was raised by Black Southerners who made home in Los Angeles, determined to make a better life for themselves and those to come. A Black queer child coming of age during assassinations, riots, the Black Power Movement and Soul Music – Sharon strives to model the unbending dignity, commitment to community, self-determination and Love of Black cultures that was modeled for her.

Sharon is proud to be a Thousand Currents Artist-in-Residence. A Doris Duke Performing Artist, Creative Capital Artist, New Dramatists alumnae and recipient of funding from The Whitman Institute – Sharon is a writer that collaborates with actors, dancers, singers and audiences live during performance as she composes moving soundscapes of her non-linear texts. Widely published, Sharon has been a self-employed touring artist since 1998. Sharon is currently developing dat Black Mermaid Man Lady/Home.

Omi Osun Joni L. Jones

Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Ph.D. is an artist/scholar and a Professor in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department at the University of Texas at Austin. Her original performance works include “sista docta”—a critique of the academy, and “Searching for Ọ̀ṣun”—a performance ethnography around Yoruba identity. She has conducted theater for social change workshops for the Forum on Governance and Democracy in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, for Educafro in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for the Engaged Donors for Global Equity (EDGE) annual conference, and for the Austin Project which she founded as a collective of women of color artists, scholars, activists and allies who use art for re-imagining society.

Omi’s scholarship focuses on performance ethnography, theatrical jazz, Yoruba-based aesthetics, Black Feminisms, and activist theatre. She is a co-editor with Lisa Moore and Sharon Bridgforth of Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project (University of Texas Press, 2010). Her collaborative ethnography, Theatrical Jazz: Performance, Àṣẹ, and the Power of the Present Moment (Ohio State University Press, 2015) is now available in print and as a CD. Omi is thrilled to be an Artist-in-Residence with Thousand Currents where she can work with courageous visionaries to bring about social change.

Pregs Govendor