Wexner Center for the Arts announces its Artist Residency Award recipients for 2019–20

Thu, May 23, 2019

The Wexner Center for the Arts, the multidisciplinary contemporary art laboratory at The Ohio State University, is delighted to announce the beneficiaries of its annual Artist Residency Awards for 2019–20.

For virtually all of its three decades of existence, the Wex has invested over $200,000 each year in the creation of new work across the center's program areas. Chosen by the curators and director, each recipient exemplifies the spirit of innovation and exploration that is central to the mission of the Wexner Center and Ohio State.

“A commitment to both supporting and presenting new work is an essential part of why I was excited to come to the Wexner Center,” says recently appointed director Johanna Burton. “A truly impressive roster of artists has been selected for this honor over the center’s lifespan. The Artist Residency Awards offer time and resources to artists at all stages of their careers, resulting in extraordinary, thought-provoking work here at the center. The recipients for this 30th anniversary year continue that strong tradition.”

Along with financial support comes a level of freedom to determine how the award will be used and access to the technical, professional, and creative capital of the Wex and Ohio State. This can range from rehearsal space for a new performance work to the use of equipment to shoot footage for a new film, to consultation with faculty members in the STEM fields on the specific challenges of a sculptural installation. By accepting the award, artists agree to support the Wex’s function as a teaching space by sharing their processes and experiences with students. A list of past recipients is available here.


The recipients for 2019–20:

Film/Video: Various filmmakers | Cinetracts ‘20

Filmmaker Natalia Almada in the lobby of the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University during a September 26, 2012 visit to introduce her film El Veledor

Cinetracts '20 filmmaker Natalia Almada at the Wexner Center in 2012

In 1968, a group of French filmmakers including Jean-Luc Godard and Chris Marker crafted short, quickly made cinematic responses to the political and social upheaval that shook Paris in May of that year. Inspired in part by this project, called Cinétracts, the Wexner Center is commissioning 20 short films by 20 filmmakers from around the world, including Natalia Almada (Mexico/San Francisco, CA), Tony Buba (Braddock, PA), Charles Burnett (Los Angeles, CA), Tamer El Said (Egypt/Germany), Su Friedrich (Brooklyn, NY), Kelly Gallagher (Syracuse, NY), Christopher Harris (Iowa City, IA), Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk Nation, WI), Gabriel Mascaro (Brazil), Rosine Mbakam (Cameroon/Belgium), Sheilah and Dani ReStack (Columbus, OH), and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand).

Each filmmaker will create a work in response to the current, often turbulent sociopolitical climate, a reflection on or reaction to the zeitgeist as the artist perceives and defines it. As with the original Cinétracts project, participating filmmakers will work within a set of guidelines that includes a running time of no more than two minutes, a schedule of one day to make the piece, and an explicit reference within the film to the date and geographic location. The completed project will act as dynamic index of places and a compelling record of our time—and perhaps a provocation for what comes next. 

The Wex will screen the works in fall 2020 and host a panel discussion with some of the participants before sharing the films with other venues and eventually online.


Performing Arts: Sharon Udoh

Singer, songwriter, and keyboardist Sharon Udoh of the rock 'n' roll band Counterfeit Madison, recipient of a 2019–20 Wexner Center Artist Residency Award for performing arts; photo: Kate Sweeney

Photo: Kate Sweeney

A central Ohio treasure who’s poised for greatness, singer, keyboardist, and songwriter Sharon Udoh combines vocals that seemingly erupt from the center of the earth with a stage presence that somehow feels both dangerous and kind. 

Ever generous with her gifts, Udoh’s performed with a wide variety of bands in the Columbus music scene. With her own rock ‘n’ roll group, Counterfeit Madison, she has released two albums and created the 2017 performance Counterfeit Madison Meets Nina Simone: A Celebration of Blackness. The band’s most recent album, 2017’s Opposable Thumbs, launched with a sold-out release party at the Wexner Center. The disc reaffirmed the relevance of her storytelling and searing musicality, and her appearance in another Wex-supported project—a theatrical version of Joan Didion’s “The White Album” by director Lars Jan—showcased her talent at such prestigious venues as the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA.

Udoh’s residency work will incorporate several elements, including a music video and release party for Counterfeit Madison’s upcoming album and an Aretha Franklin tribute concert, created in collaboration with Columbus performer DJ Moxy. She’ll also curate a music bill for performances by choreographer and dancer nora chipaumire at the Wex in fall 2019.


Hi-res images of award recipients are available on request. Email mstarker@wexarts.org.