Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

Artist in residencePrior recipients of the residency include the Marian Anderson String Quartet, poet Evie Shockley, playwright Jaymes Jorsling and performance artist ChE Ware, artist Jessica Hill, and Haitian artist Renold Laurent.

The Heimark Artist-in-Residence program is generously supported by the philanthropy of Libby '76 and Craig Heimark '76, P'11, P'14, P'17.


Catalog cover for Speculative Ecologies The Intimate Bond of Freedom and Green

The Ruth J. Simmons Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice’s Spring 2023 Heimark Artist in Residence is Renée Elizabeth Neely-TANNER. Neely-TANNER, originally a member of the Class of 1976, returned to Brown to graduate in 2012. Her work explores the intimate relationships BIPOC have always had with their environment. Not simply as laborers, but as environmental stewards–a complex and unique position linking freedom and green.

Speculative Ecologies The Intimate Bond of Freedom and Green is on view May 26, 2023-December 8, 2023. The gallery is open Monday-Friday, 10am-3pm and is closed for school and federal holidays.


Memory Work exhibit

Memory Work is an exhibition of paintings by 2019 Heimark Artist-in-Residence, Renold Laurent, a Haitian artist based in Boston.   Through these paintings he examines how different materials, from oil and acrylic paint to coffee grounds, enter into artistic dialogue with one another and make new meanings across space and time. By transforming materials that he finds in his local surroundings, he draws attention to how the artistic imagination can compensate for the economic limitations many people have in acquiring or buying material objects in the first place.


Tapestry of pregnant women

The work of 2018 Heimark Artist in Residence Jessica Hill examines the resilience of black womanhood today. Her pieces explore the ways in which racial slavery created ideas about race and racial difference that continue to divide our society. Her work references folktales created through the middle passage and the communities which enslaved people formed in the New World. She creates intricate and beautiful patterns, drawing from African symbols and design as well as the African American quilting tradition. Using iconic references and images of slavery and resistance such as the whip, the plantation, chains, and raised fists she visualizes the ways in which Black women have always fought various forms of incarceration, seeking freedom for themselves and future generations. By asking the viewer to reimagine familiar symbols, the work of Jess Hill seeks to erode historical constructs which continue to dominate American society.  


The 2016-2017 Heimark Artist in Residence is pleased to announce the Black Spatial Relics (BSR) program.  The BSR residency supports the development of two new performance works that address and incorporate the public history of slavery and contemporary issues of justice. The 2016-2017 Black Spatial Relics artists-in-residence are ChE Ware and Jaymes Jorsling.

ChE will present workshops and performances within their work in Afro-Indigenous Liberatory Practice through their project #DignityinProcess. Over the next several months they will partner with The Loving Festival and Dancing Grounds on local performance installations in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jaymes Jorsling will work with Rites and Reason Theatre to develop and present his play Trippin Over Roots. Jorsling will partner with The Classical Theatre of Harlem on the development of this work in Harlem, New York.


People seated during the event

Please welcome poet Evie Shockley, the 2016 Heimark Artist-in-Residence, in a public reading of a poem written on the occassion of  American playwright Naomi Wallace's off-Broadway play, The Liquid Plain.  The event featured a dramatic reading by acclaimed actress LisaGay Hamilton and Jeff Gill and a panel focused on the history and politics of slavery in Rhode Island.  


Quartet performing

Please join us in welcoming the Marian Anderson String Quartet as our 2014-2015 Heimark Artists-in-Residence:
Marianne Henry, violin
Nicole Cherry, violin
Diedra Lawrence, viola
Prudence McDaniel, cello