Past Resident Artists

Ondine Geary
dancer, choreographer

My dances are both deeply personal and irrepressibly political; these days, I am as much influenced by the news cycle as the moon’s cycle. My dances often begin as improvisations, which is my attempt to crack through to the subconscious and find places where I feel lost. There, I mine the dark night sky of my interior life and, when I come across something terrifying or intriguing, I broadcast radio signals back down to Earth.

Linda Gallagher
My practice involves two separate modes of thought, what I think of as training and then action. The act of drawing informs all of my work. The drawing mode of thought, the training, consists of a meditative period of collecting imagery while transforming this imagery through the act of drawing. The action period comes into play with my large-scale paintings. After long periods of drawing, ideas congregate and are birthed together in the moment of painting.

Janaye Brown
film, video art

I make videos based on pregnant moments I observe in my everyday life. My filmmaking background informs the techniques I use to build and sustain a sense of anticipation while emphasizing the passage of time. Through an extended look at a narrative fragment, often with a single action as its focus, the subtlest shifts become prominent and the viewer has time to examine everything within the mise-en-scène. I seek to access the tension and mystique that lay beneath the surface of familiarity.

Carrick Bell
installation, video art

I make videos using already existing material to play with the identity crisis of video and the cultures that produce it. I turn to technologies and images whose relevance is faded, as these can be more instructive than contemporary artifacts. Recent projects have focused on the anxiety that necessarily accompanies subjective responses to infinite possibilities, endless customization, and the imperative that a subject define themselves through the act of decision-making.”

Ashley Roach-Freiman

My writing has become increasingly experimental, with themes rising from the language, imagery, and complicated concepts around gender, sex, consent, and violence. I am most engaged with the linguistic urgency of many of our most essential feminist poets and writers exploring the intersection of self-hood and uncertainty, including C.D. Wright, Maggie Nelson, Karyna McGlynn, and Ada Limón.”

Aisha Raison
creative writing, filmmaking, photography, playwrighting, public art

“As a writer, filmmaker, and activist, I take the tools that I have used for the past 26 years in my career as an on-air personality and director and use them to convey emotion, send a message of hope, and recognize what is happening in society as a whole.”

Alex Joins
mixed media, sculpture, installation

“I am an artist producing artwork at the direct convergence of sculpture and painting, raising the visual plane to the image which lies on its side.”

Caroline Keys
artist, writer, poet, musician, and teacher

I am a collaboration junkie. I play music in order to disappear. Evaporating into sound was a big part of my musical upbringing, which took place in church choirs and Appalachian string bands. Choir, for me, was about blending into the sounds around me. In Appalachian string band music, disappearing is sort of the point: the musicians play so the dancers can dance.  There is no spotlight, just collective motion and sound.”

Carrol McTyre
visual artist

While the subject matter varies, at its core my work is an examination of the human experience. The process results in work that takes an anthropological perspective. It’s approachable, observational, and usually holds a surprise.”

music,  videos,  and more

“My visual/vocal art embodies perspectives. I love to illustrate my visions from the subject’s point of view and from the audience’s angle as well. I believe the overall outcome each time makes my work relatable because of the ‘put yourself in my shoes’ state of mind I tend to fall into while creating. Crisp statement colors help me convey how much art parallels the present state of the real world as opposed to just the use of solid separated blacks and whites.”

Kevin Brooks

My name is Kevin Brooks and I am a 24-year-old filmmaker from Memphis, Tennessee. I’ve began creating films at a very young age, ranging from stop-motion to narratives to just random home videos around the house. The journey began the day my dad brought home an RCA video camera and handed it to me and told me to go play with it. From that day on, I went around filming anything that I could, no matter how small or big it was. I just wanted to record everything and wrap my head around how this technology worked.”

Lauren Ross
curating and

I am a curator and writer based in Richmond, Virginia. I have dedicated over twenty years to championing emerging to mid-career artists, with a special emphasis on under-recognized artists, through organizing exhibitions, commissioning public art, and writing reviews, essays, and articles.”

Lester Merriweather
mixed media

The main interest within my practice is restructuring the socio-economic standing and acknowledgement of people of color.  Recent works re-contextualize printed ad material from fashion and lifestyle magazines and examine the ideas and systems that perpetuate social privilege, questioning advertisements that promote notions of racial hierarchy.”

Melanie Bernier

Working from a background in activism and DIY music culture, my practice attends to issues of politics, the mind, and the body with a spirit of resistance. I use the work to challenge common cultural assumptions about subjects including: trash/disposability, beauty, gender, health, and community. Second-hand clothes, trash, performance, aerobics, music, and social practice are among my preferred mediums. Working across them provides a fluidity of expression; one will influence my approach to the others.”

Mike Calway-Fagen

“The fourth wall splits audience and actor creating codified spaces and performances. Reality really is a membrane, and these two seemingly disparate entities spit back and forth, exchanging information, materials, and impacts. I re-approach all things with this in mind. How might a sculpture, video, photo, collage, or whatever stumble right along with the viewer, breath held, eyes open.”

Rosemary Warren
photography, video art

I want to make work that is vulnerable and generous – that lays myself and my thinking, my heart, fears, joys, failings, out to the audience, work that doesn’t stop asking questions. I do not stop asking questions of and with the work – while I primarily use images – still and moving, I also play with writing, printmaking and sound.”

Toya and Reuben Levi
creative writing, social projects, digital arts, multimedia

Presented by Grits Co. (Reuben & Toya Levi), The Green Book Project is a web documentary that includes photos, interviews, and history across the United States about African American experiences traveling via their mode of transportation during the Jim Crow Era.  Blacks had to work together to travel and vacation across the United States with the help of the historic ‘Negro Motorist Green Book,’ a collection of motels, gas stations, restaurants, and more.”

Paul Taylor

What do seemingly disparate artists Chuck Prophet, Aashish Khan, Eric Gales, Shelby Bryant, David Shouse, Ann Peebles, Dead Soldiers, Big Ass Truck, Shawn Lane, Sid Selvidge, Robert Ellis, John Nemeth, Devil Train, Amy LaVere, Mason Ruffner, Luther Dickinson, Kelley Mickwee and many more have in common?

Answer = They have all utilized the talents of Memphis musician Paul Taylor.

Richard Alley

Richard is an award-winning freelance reporter and columnist, as well as the editor of Inside Memphis Business. He has written the parenting column ‘Because I Said So for The Commercial Appeal since 2008. Richard is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, where he currently lives with his wife and four children.

Sarah Ledbetter
performance art

Coming of age as a dance-maker, my goal is to deepen my commitment to the interpersonal nature of dance-making by including my audience in the creative community out of which the dance emerges. My aim in doing so is to bring the performance act back to its roots as an exchange between people who, together, seek a greater collective good.”

Michael “Birdcap” Roy

Michael Roy, better known as Birdcap, has been an active street artist for the past four years, and over the those years, he’s received an international following. Michael has been coordinating the rotating Moonpie Project mural series at Crosstown Arts for several years.

Eso Tolson

Eso Tolson is a multidisciplinary artist and creative director who specializes in hand-lettering for branding, editorial, and commercial projects. His hand lettering has been featured in publications, public spaces in Memphis, blogs such as, and documentaries such as “Music on the Road” on Fuse TV.

Averell Mondie

Averell Mondie hails from Memphis, TN. His self-taught photography focuses on portraiture, street photography, and photojournalism. Averell strives daily to capture city life, particularly in his hometown, in a unique gritty, moody, and minimalist style.

Spurred often by galvanizing community development, Averell walks, bikes, and buses through the corridors and alleys of Memphis, chasing light and exploring relics deeply rooted in the city’s past. His style becomes more defined daily, composing many of his shots with a cinematic frame, focusing on low light, aggressive shadows, and desaturated tone.

Yancy Villa-Calvo holds a B.A., B.F.A., and M.B.A., and she was born in Mexico City. Through multimedia work, she seeks to create awareness, provoke a thought and engage in a conversation on issues of social justice and equality. The latest collaborative projects, GEMS Memphis 3.0 and Barrier Free Art Installation, are examples of her work that showed the art engagement with underserved individuals and communities.


Terri Phillips

Terri Phillips returns to Memphis after completing her education at California Institute of the Arts, Beaux-Arts, and Pepperdine University. She has been an adjunct art instructor at Memphis College of Art and University of Memphis for the past several years and has exhibited and curated internationally

Eric Clausen

Eric Clausen is an artist currently living and working in Memphis. As part of his research, he travels cross country by bicycle. During these ventures, Clausen documents observations through drawings and audio recordings. Using these, he creates psychogeographic meditations on our changing Americana. Outside of that work, he is an Instructional Designer for Columbia University, a faculty member in the Rosa Deal School of the Arts at Christian Brothers University, and an independent illustrator, animator, audio producer, & gameshow host.

Vanessa Gonzalez

Vanessa Gonzalez is a printmaker who uses mixed media in her art work. She was born in Laredo Texas and raised in Leon Mexico. Gonzalez was exposed to Latino art and culture from an early age, which inspired her to become passionate to its rich cultural traditions. Vanessa is currently living in Memphis TN, where she earned her Masters Degree in Fine Arts at Memphis College of Art and is an elementary school art teacher at a charter school. Vanessa’s work has being exhibited not only in the United States but also internationally in Mexico, Australia, and Germany.

Robby Grant

Robby Grant is a Memphis-based musician that has toured and recorded with Vending Machine, Big Ass Truck, Mouserocket and >mancontrol<. In April 2018, he will perform in the “Mellotron Variations” series which is made possible by an NEA grant. The show will feature collaborations with other composers, musicians, visual artists, and dancers.

Joshua Short

Joshua Short’s work blurs the line between audience, artwork, and performer, inviting the viewer to complete the art. Much like the all-American spectacle of pro-wrestling, the audience is part of the performance. The action of entering into the artwork as a participant generates a more authentic experience by suspending the social filters that we carry into everyday life. Short uses cultural detritus as a point of departure. The inherited meanings found within cast-off objects combined with his artistic sensibilities creates an altered space that frames contemporary American Mythologies and Rituals.

Emily C Thomas

Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Emily C. Thomas is an interdisciplinary, project-based artist who has lived and worked in New York, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Memphis, and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She received a BFA from NYU in 2009 and a MFA from UC Santa Barbara in 2015.

Thomas’ practice is a holistic response to the fragmentation of consciousness, resulting from institutionalized segregation of knowledge and the classification of individuals into cultural, social, gender, and human vs. nonhuman roles. Acting as a medium, she conjures visions of trans-rational and transpersonal realms that dissolve divisions within consciousness.

Carrie Rubenstein

Carrie Rubinstein is a Brooklyn-based sculptor who creates life-sized installations from paper with pen and ink. She earned her B.A. in Studio Art from Smith College, a Post Baccalaureate degree in Sculpture from Brandeis University, and her M.F.A. in Sculpture from Hunter College with an exchange semester at L’École des Beaux Arts in Paris. In 2013, she was a sculpture resident at the Vermont Studio Center. This experience generated early work for Retrofit, a full room installation made entirely from paper through drawings, hollow constructed forms, and casting. Brooklyn’s Rhombus Space presented Retrofit, which was Rubinstein’s first NYC solo show, and she was their August 2015 artist-in residence. In June 2017, Rubinstein created the paper installation, Found Underground, at Hunter College’s Thomas Hunter Project Space in Manhattan.

In September 2017, Retrofit traveled to the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, MI. This was Rubinstein’s first solo museum show. Other notable NYC based group shows include exhibitions at Arts@Renaissance, Brooklyn Museum’s Go Open Studio Project, A.I.R. Gallery, Orgy Park, and The Roger Smith Hotel.

Andrea Morales
Andrea Morales is an artist, photojournalist, freelance photographer, and teacher.  She works regularly for the New York Times and other well-known publications.

“Stories at the community level, when approached with patience and sensitivity, can and should speak universally.  In trying to understand a place, or a moment, I try to handle the mundane with equal reverence as the ceremonial.”

MEMPHIS, TN – July 2, 2015: Story is about a call to move a statue and grave of Nathan Bedford Forrest in Memphis. He and his wife and his great-grandson are buried in a park near downtown Memphis. The park was named for him. But it was renamed in 2013. The bodies and the statue of him are still there, though. In the days after the Charleston shooting, the mayor and city council have renewed their efforts to get the bodies and statue moved back to the cemetery where they were originally buried. Credit: Andrea Morales for The New York Times

Ben Butler
Ben Butler is an artist working primarily in wood and other organic materials.  His work has been exhibited nationally, with recent large-scale installations at Rice University Art Gallery & the University of Mississippi Museum.

“My sculptures reflect the sensibility that an object stands as a momentary physical manifestation of an ongoing process.  They provide evidence of unseen forces, and they point to the distinction between the human and the non-human.”

Ben Butler

Lance Turner
Lance Turner was born in North Carolina in 1985. He graduated from Memphis College of Art with a BFA in Painting and Art History and from Savannah College of Art and Design with a MFA in Painting. Working with a wide array of media, including mirrors, wood, paint, and digital prints, his work incorporates viewers and their space as an extension of painting. During the 4-month residency, he plans to explore phenomenological space and illusion through a more sculptural use of media, or what he calls “the Independent Study in sculpture class he never had.”

Corkey Sinks
Corkey Sinks is an artist working in a wide range of media including sculpture, textiles, and printed matter.  She received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012.

“I map repetition and contradiction of the paranoid spirit. Referencing new religious movements and self-help techniques, I imagine practical and psycho-spiritual coping strategies for the American condition.”

Corkey Sinks

Crosstown Arts