Four Black creative mothers chosen for Home and Visiting Artist Residencies
December 1, 2020. Pittsburgh, PA… Artist Alisha B. Wormsley and the Sibyls Shrine team are pleased to announce the artists selected for the Sibyls Shrine Visiting Artist Residency and Sibyls Shrine Home Residency.
Internationally renowned interdisciplinary artist Renee Cox was invited by the Sibyls Shrine team as the inaugural Visiting Artist. Cox will begin her yearlong Residency in January 2021. As Visiting Artist-in-Residence, Cox will be supported for one year with an unrestricted honorarium, material and supply budget, travel, and residential accommodations. While in Pittsburgh, she will have access to the facilities and support of multiple arts organizations and institutions, ultimately resulting in an exhibition with additional members of the Sibyls Shrine team. Cox will participate in public programming throughout the city and will also serve as a mentor to the three Sibyls Shrine Home Residents over the duration of her residency.
The Sibyls Shrine Home Residents were selected following a June 2020 call for Pittsburgh-based artists. The panel of Black mother arts professionals consisted of Ellen Sebastian Chang, Shani Peters, and Juana Williams. Panelists selected Pittsburgh-based artists Mary Martin, LaKeisha Wolf, and sarah huny young from the 30 submitted applications.
The Home Residency supports three Pittsburgh-based artists through 12-week intensives with professional and personal development, space, connectivity, mutual aid, financial and creative support, mentorship, and exhibition opportunities. The Home Residents will remain in their own homes, but will be supported with relief from some of their day-to-day tasks of homecare, childcare, cleaning, and grocery purchasing and shopping in order to provide them with the time, space, and resources to support their creative practices. Other Black creative mothers and working professionals from the Pittsburgh area will be hired to provide support and assistance to the Home Residents.
“My practice of making includes supporting the spirits of Black people in America; that starts and ends with Black Women, and more specifically, with Black Mothers,” says Wormsley. “My research has recently led me to the Combahee River Collective, who say ‘If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free, since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all systems of oppression.’ This residency aims not only to support the careers of its residents but also their livelihood as they are one and the same.”
At the conclusion of both residencies, a final group exhibition will be held at the Mattress Factory Contemporary Museum.
The Visiting Artist Residency and Home Residency are two of the four residency programs that comprise the Sibyls Shrine Residency program. Additional residencies include: Community Liaison Residency (supports one community-based artist working with Black neighborhoods in Pittsburgh for one year with an honorarium, materials budget and exhibition opportunities); and Network Residency (supports Black creative mothers over multiple eight-week sessions, hosted online as a response to COVID-19. Each cohort of up to 30 participants receives a stipend for joining as well as an honorarium for leading a virtual program based on their unique skill set, discipline, and expertise). To learn more about the different programs, please visit: https://alishabwormsley.com/sibyls-shrine. The Home Residency will launch in January 2021 and will include three 12-week intensives throughout the year.
Sibyls Shrine is funded by the Just Arts program of The Heinz Endowments, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Opportunity Fund. Additional financial support has been provided by the Mattress Factory Museum, The Pittsburgh Glass Center, and Silver Eye Center for Photography.
About the Artists
A deliberate force in the landscape of contemporary American art for the last three decades, Renee Cox is a photographer and mixed media artist. Where the body is concerned, particularly the black woman’s body, Cox’s gaze has remained at a focused intensity, framing her characteristic self-portraits as poignant arguments on race, desire, religion, feminism and visual and cultural aesthetics. Born in Jamaica before relocating early to New York, Cox studied film at Syracuse University, photography at the School of Visual Arts and participated in the Whitney Independent Study program in 1992. Her work has been featured at the Perez Art Museum Miami (2014), The Studio Museum in Harlem (2012), the Spelman Museum of Fine Art (2013), the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art (2008), the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke (2006), as a part of the Jamaican Biennale (2006), the Brooklyn Museum (2001), the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston (1996), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (1993), among others.
Mary Martin is a Pittsburgh artist/art educator. In 1993, she earned Bachelor Degrees in Architecture and Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design. Currently, Mary is a high school visual arts instructor at Winchester Thurston School. She is a member of Women of Visions, Inc., an arts collective of Black female artists. She exhibits nationally and collaborates on educational programming for various cultural institutions.
LaKeisha Wolf is an artisan & owner of a micro-enterprise centered on making and wellness. She has grown her skills working to uplift and center her own healing, as well as other Black women and Africana community, using nature, arts and culture. Wolf’s resources are stones and natural elements, symbols and affirmations.
sarah huny young
sarah huny young is an award-winning visual artist primarily documenting and exalting Black womanhood and queer communities through portraiture and video. Framing her muses as collaborators, she often shoots on-location across the country in personal, intimate spaces of the subject’s choosing. Her work has been featured in Pittsburgh City Paper, New York Magazine, and The New York Times.
About Sibyls Shrine
Sibyls Shrine is a new artist residency program for Black women, womxn, trans women, and femmes who are mothers and identify as artists, creatives, and/or activists in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For these womxn, the challenges of parenting in combination with systemic racism and sexism often make the barriers to entry into the art world insurmountable.
Sibyls Shrine is an homage to the Sibyls, the original priestesses of the Black goddess Mami Wata. The term, which predates Greek history, was used to name the guardians of the Matriarchy. The Sibyls Shrine residency program is motivated by a similar goal: uplifting Black mothers with opportunities for self-care, childcare, space and support in an effort to further develop their craft and presence in the art world. Sibyls Shrine was created by artist Alisha B. Wormsley in 2019.
About the Team
Artist Alisha B. Wormsley serves as the project’s Creative Director, and works in collaboration with Jessica Gaynelle Moss as the Administrative Director and Naomi Chambers as the Community Artist Liaison. Wormsley, Moss and Chambers are all Pittsburgh-based Black creative mothers. The Office of Public Art provides additional support as the Sibyls Shrine collaborating organization.
News from OPA & from the field
Read the latest news from the Office of Public Art and the wider public art field.
Boots on the Sound: Covid-19
This two-year collaborative project by artist Ricardo Robinson is part of the OPA’s Artist Residency in the Public Realm initiative.
Eden Hall Walking & Writing Tour
April 25, 2020, 12–2 p.m.
Writer Sherrie Flick will lead a walking tour throughout Eden Hall’s grounds.
Artists Bridging Social Distance in the Public Realm
March 1, 2020
OPA is seeking proposals from visual and performing artists for projects that aim to bridge the social distance created by efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.