Regional Emerging Artists in Residence

The Regional Emerging Artist Residency provides emerging, Southeastern-based artists with six months of free studio space at Artspace, giving them time and space to explore their work in a supportive and thriving open studio environment. Artspace offers two residencies every six months.

Summer Artist Residency

The Summer Artist Residency provides an established artist with a month-long studio opportunity to work on a specific project in Artspace’s Gallery 1 during the summer, culminating in an exhibition at the end of the month. 

Pop In Artist Residency

The Pop In residency program focuses on community engagement and provides an artist with a month-long studio opportunity to work on a project of their choice. During the residency period, Pop In Artists engage with the Raleigh community through a collaborative project or through teaching a workshop. 

Universal Access Artist Residency

The Universal Access Residency is exclusive to artists who identify as having a disability. This residency is designed to be flexible and can be easily modified to accommodate different disabilities.

The residency was initiated in 2019 and was made possible through the actions of past Operations + Finance Manager, Megan Sullivan, who received The Betty Siegel Universal Access + the Arts Award; which recognizes the substantial achievements of Arts Learning Community for Universal Access members who complete all three years of the program. Sullivan chose to use the grant included as part of the award to fill a need in our community.

Claire Alexandre, Community

Claire Alexandre

Gallery 1

Artspace is excited to welcome Claire Alexandre to our space as our 2022 Summer Artist in Residence. Claire will use this space throughout the month of July as their primary studio. During their time in residence, Claire will use this opportunity and space to lift up, engage and collaborate with marginalized communities in order to connect, celebrate and grow through different processes of art making. Claire’s work is rooted in their identity as a part of the African-Caribbean diaspora, their passion for ecology, and the importance of ancestral wisdom to contemporary life. 

Since 1999, Gallery 1 has hosted our Summer Artist in Residence Program.  This residency provides funding, studio space and professional support for an artist to produce a solo exhibition at Artspace. 

Claire Alexandre is a Diaspora child, Abolitionist feminist storyteller and student of all ecologies who weaves autobiographical reflections with ancestral wisdom. Through mixed media paintings and street art, they elaborate detailed portraits infused with notions of struggles and strength that exist at the intersection between environmental, gender, and racial justice. They seek to deepen our collective understanding of community prosperity and its close ties with sustainable land stewardship.

Their creative practice is founded on their desire to visually translate the unique stories existing in liminal spaces to empower folks whose experiences are too often undermined and attacked for lack of being clearly defined or recorded. ​

From the studio to the street, canvas to concrete Claire Alexandre uses a wide variety of surfaces to reclaim space for the voices of marginalized communities–particularly Black queer women identifying folks–to be witnessed and celebrated in all their complexities and colors…They consider their paintings portals that carry the responsibility of offering alternative visions of the world, ones that encourage us to go beyond colonial conditioned understandings of who we are, who we can be, and what our duty on this earth is.  

Their creative practice is founded on their desire to visually translate the unique stories existing in liminal spaces to empower folks whose experiences are too often undermined and attacked for lack of being clearly defined or recorded. As they create, they continuously explore the intricate ways in which poetry influences science, herbalism speaks to politics, music shapes landscapes and data dances in our dreams.

Since Claire Alexandre began painting in 2018 they have done murals in Colombia, Morocco, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Scotland and the US. They have completed residencies in Brazil and the US. In 2019 they were an invited speaker to the opening of the Beyond Despair: Environmental Humanities in Theory and Practice Art Exhibition in Durham, NC. Claire has recently completed two solo exhibitions, one at the Durham Arts Guild and the other at 21c Durham.

Aliyah Bonnette, detail of oil and applique on quilt

Aliyah Bonnette

Studio 215

Aliyah Bonnette received her BFA from East Carolina University in 2021. She is a former Artspace Summer Art Camp intern, as well as teaching artist.

Bonnette’s work tells the story of a Black woman’s journey to find herself. She combines improvisational quilting to stitch together the stories and memories of Black women across generations. Through the addition of paint, she constructs stories of her own Blackness, femininity and sexuality beyond the violence and hyper sexualization that Black women face in a colonized world.
Work by Aliyah Bonnette

Artist Statement

“My work is heavily influenced by my relationships with my late grandmothers, my ancestors, or my ‘Kindred’ as I call them. I discovered quilting three years ago at age twenty after learning that quilting may have been used in the underground railroad in an African American Studies class. When I first told my grandfather about my sewing, I learned he had kept quilts and fabric from my late grandmother after she passed away. She was a quilter in the 1970s while living in Georgia and had learned to sew by watching her own mother. A few days later, my mother and I pulled up in her car and were surprised to find barrels full of my grandmother’s unfinished quilts and both used and unused fabrics. I was stunned. It was a sign that my grandmothers were alive within me, guiding me all along. And my grandfather was the messenger that would lead me to the purpose of my current body of work.

Over time, I have taught myself a process of improvisational quilting to physically connect to my grandmother and the practices of my women ancestors. By incorporating the very fabrics and unfinished quilts she touched and sewed herself, my practice becomes a space to stitch together the stories and memories of black women across generations. My work tells the story of a black woman’s journey to find herself. My figures are representations of me and the women around me. Through them, I construct stories of our own blackness, femininity and sexuality beyond the violence and hyper sexualization that we face as Black women in a colonized world. My Kindred who have lived through slavery and Jim Crow directly aid me in the process of art-making while simultaneously guiding me on my own path of womanhood. The figures within my work are women living in comfortable environments where they may reveal their authentic self. They are Black women, often partially or fully nude. We take ownership of our bodies and refuse to be controlled by imposed standards of race, gender or sexuality. Guided by the Kindred, both myself and my figures may find our paths to our true selves, imagining who we may have been without the interference of colonization.”

By incorporating the very fabrics and unfinished quilts she touched and sewed herself, my practice becomes a space to stitch together the stories and memories of black women across generations.

Aliyah Bonnette
detail of acrylic painting by Freddie Bell

Freddie Bell

Studio 215A

Freddie Bell received a BA in painting from Warren Wilson College. Bell’s identity as a queer and transgender person informs how they see and move through the world. They are interested in exploring the binaries and systems we have created for ourselves as individuals and communities. Iterative, graphic shapes, saturated color, and pattern become the visual language to explore these themes. During their residency, Bell will explore the ways grief is processed.

Acrylic Painting by Freddie Bell

Artist Statement

“My identity as a queer and transgender person informs how I see and move through the world and is a fundamental influence in all my work. I am interested in exploring the binaries and systems we have created for ourselves as individuals and communities. Language is important for expressing our experiences, but labels become limiting when we become too attached to them. Working primarily with acrylic, I explore this through loose shape and varied repetition. I enjoy playing with color and its relationship to shape and space. I draw and paint intuitively, allowing the piece to direct next steps. Currently my focus is on grief and the physical body. My father passed away earlier this year and I often notice that grief as a physical knot in my chest or gut, reminding me of having a knot in my shoulders or back. This sparked a curiosity about fascia, the thin tissue in our muscles and body. I’ve been researching how the fascia functions and when there’s a tightness in our body it’s often caused by something happening somewhere else in the body – a parallel to the impacts of grief. I’m exploring this relationship by taking motifs that are familiar to my style and using them in different ways with new shapes. These new forms are reminiscent of cells and muscles. I use the relationship of pattern, form, and color to express both tension and release in my new paintings.”

I am interested in exploring the binaries and systems we have created for ourselves as individuals and communities. Language is important for expressing our experiences, but labels become limiting when we become too attached to them.

Freddie Bell