The Westmoreland Museum of American Art established a new Artist-in-Residency Program, made possible by generous support from The Pittsburgh Foundation, in collaboration with BOOM Concepts in September 2020.
The program, which will feature 4 to 6 artists annually, emphasizes the Museum’s commitment to engaging and supporting Black and marginalized artists, to promoting equity in the arts, and to sharing compelling and meaningful cultural experiences with the regional community.
During their residency, the artist in residence will reside in a property owned by The Westmoreland within walking distance of the Museum and downtown Greensburg. The Center for Creative Connections, our interactive hands-on space which is currently closed due to COVID, has been transformed into a flexible, open studio space for the artists to work. When COVID safety protocols allow, this studio will also provide opportunities for our guests to meet and learn from artists in residence. Until then, the artists in residence will offer insightful virtual public programs.
Each residency varies in length depending on the individual needs and availability of the artist. Artists are expected to use the span of the residency to create, study, investigate, and reflect on their artistic practice and are given full access to the collection and the archives, along with support from the curators, educators, conservators, and other staff. Artists can use the residency as an opportunity to work on a new body of work or develop a new process and are encouraged to engage with the Museum’s collection and community.
Inaugural artists selected include Anqwenique, D.S. Kinsel, Gavin Benjamin and Madame Christiane Dolores. Future artists-in-residence will be announced here. Currently, the artist-in-residence program is invitational.
Madame Christiane Dolores
Residency: August 15, 2021 – February 11, 2022
Multi-platform cross-disciplinary artist, Madame Dolores employs sound, vision, text, and performance as storytelling tools to create radical, sometimes controversial, cultural engagements. Her practice is rooted in responding to compelling questions about cultural definitions, the root of hatred, cognitive dissonance, binary systems, and social conflicts of Us vs Them. Her textual, visual, musical work investigates human behavior, questions inhuman cruelty and dreams of a future where we can coexistence.
Madame Dolores has earned many accolades and opportunities for her work. In 2017, she received the Pittsburgh Business Times Women First award, and in 2014, was commissioned by The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to create a song and lead Pittsburgh’s inaugural Complaints Choir during the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. She has also been recognized as the winner of an 2010 August Wilson Center Fellowship; an awardee of a 2011 and 2020 grant from Advancing the Black Arts in support of solo musical releases; a 2007 honoree at the New Hazlett Theatre “Celebrating Women in the Arts; a 2003 winner of the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowship for World/Jazz/Blues musical composition; and a 2002 Pittsburgh Magazine “40 under 40” award winner. She received funding from Sprout for two MiniM Music Festivals for the Blues and Jazz genres and for “Listen to This, featuring poetess, Ursula Rucker; a commission from Pittsburgh Foundation to write her first play, Saffronia; funding from Multi-Cultural Arts Initiative to produce Saffronia: the Mulatto Slave, which came in 2nd place at the Trinidad Theater Festival, in 2016.
Madame Dolores, who also is known as Christiane Leach, is the founding member of the #notwhite collective, a group of 13 femme artists who use their art to make their stories visible as they excavate histories, expose realities, and exorcise oppression. She has also been very dedicated to the arts community as the artist relations manager at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, where she worked for 15 years leading several landmark programs and increasing engagement and support of typically underserved artists, especially people of color and women, and is now currently working at the Pittsburgh International Airport’s Art as their technical assistant of arts and culture.
Residency: Late March – July 2021
Benjamin combines original analog photography and appropriated images with collage, paint and varnish to create rich works, which he says, “call back to baroque traditions, but use elements of current culture to provoke, critique and explore.”
Benjamin’s work investigates the intersection of culture, media, politics, fashion, and design, addressing questions that confront a man of color in America today. He states that, “My work reflects everything that I’m thinking – it includes everything that I love and everything that I’m challenged by. It’s honest and curious and bright and thoughtful. And sometimes a little dark. It’s all of the things that made me want to be a professional artist in the first place.”
Benjamin was born in Guyana, South America and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. During this time, he interned with legendary portrait photographer Arnold Newman. After school, he worked at agencies representing commercial and advertising photographers, prop stylists, and hair and makeup artists, and then went on to work as a freelance production coordinator/photo editor with stints at Kenneth Cole productions, Esquire Magazine, Hachette Filipacchi Media, and Good Housekeeping magazine.
Residency: Late September 2020 – March 2021
Pittsburgh native, Anqwenique, is an extremely versatile vocalist and educator specializing in opera, classical music, jazz, and soul. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Voice Performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Anqwenique is the founder and director of Groove Aesthetic, a Pittsburgh based multidisciplinary artist collective experimenting with contemporary performance and collaborative processes. She has performed and collaborated with Staycee Pearl Dance Project, Attack Theater, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, David Bernard Romain, Luna Loba Collective/Shey Rivera-Rios and many others.
Anqwenique has been recognized with many awards and opportunities for her creative work. In 2017 she was named “Best Singer” by the Pittsburgh Magazine readers poll, listed among Who’s Next in Music by The Incline and 40 Under 40 by Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP. She is on the faculty of the Clazz International Music Festival in Arcidosso, Italy.
Anqwenique has been very active in the arts and education community as a teaching artist, consultant, program manager and advisor. Currently she serves as Director of Programs for Arts Education Collaborative. She is also the Studio Manager of BOOM Concepts, working to provide affordable studio space and resources to artists and creative entrepreneurs.
Residency: Late September 2020 – March 2021
D.S. Kinsel is an award winning creative entrepreneur and cultural agitator. He expresses his creativity through the mediums of painting, installation, curating, non-traditional performance and public art. Kinsel’s work puts focus on themes of space keeping, urban tradition, hip-hop, informalism, and cultural re-appropriation. D.S. has served creative residencies at Most Wanted Fine Art, Artist Image Resource, The Homewood Residency Program, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh Public Schools Carnegie Mellon University Digital Arts Studio, AS220, the Pittsburgh Glass Center and the Sedona Summer Artist Colony. He also served as the curator of #ACTIVISTprint, a collaborative public art program of The Andy Warhol Museum and Artist Image Resource and as Senior Producer at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater.
D.S. is the co-founder of BOOM Concepts, founded in 2014. BOOM Concepts is a creative hub dedicated to the advancement of black and brown artists representing marginalized communities. BOOM Concepts is located in Pittsburgh and over the course of time has curated 50 exhibitions on-site, paid out over $45k in artists’ and contract fees, and produced 200+ events across the country. BOOM serves as a space for field building, knowledge sharing, mentorship, and storytelling. In its 6th year, BOOM Concepts consistently challenges artists and communities to find new and innovative ways to write their own narratives.
D.S. has served as a board member of Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse and serves on the advisory board for Shady Lane School and the Black Transformative Arts Network. A former AmeriCorps Public Ally member, D.S. has also been recognized as an Awardee of the Pittsburgh Courier Fab 40, Pittsburgh Magazine PUMP 40 Under 40, Pittsburgh Tech Council Creative of The Year, the Pittsburgh Post- Gazette’s “Top Ten People To Meet in 2016,” and the Incline’s “Who’s Next” for 2018. Kinsel recently participated in the “The Art of Leadership” program through Rockwood Leadership Institute and Leadership Pittsburgh.
Anqwenique and D.S., who happen to be married, have developed an exciting line up of free public programs, including a live chess match, singing workshops, and an engaging in conversation! To attend one of their upcoming virtual public programs, click here.