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The Taft Museum of Art and the Robert S. Duncanson Society welcome writer, performer, and educator, Ajanae Dawkins, as the 2022 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence.

 

Dawkins has performed and has been featured at venues across the country, including opening for the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Taft’s first Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, poet Nikki Giovanni. Her work has been published in the EcoTheo Review, The BreakBeat Poets Black Girl Magic AnthologyThe OffingTinderbox Poetry JournalWinter TangerineThe Blueshift JournalVoicemail PoemsThe Underscore ReviewWord RiotGramma Poetry, and other anthologies and journals. Dawkins’ work has also been featured on For Harriet, Def Jam, and Button Poetry and in EBONY Magazine for the Faces of Frustration: A Year of Racial Protest.

Ajanae Dawkins has not only demonstrated her talent with numerous published and performed works, but has garnered national recognition for her craft. Dawkins is the winner of Tinderbox Poetry Journal’s Editors Prize; a finalist for the Cave Canem Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook prize; and a finalist for the Brett Elizabeth Jenkins poetry prize. She is a two-time individual finalist in the Rust Belt regional slam, crowning her as one of the top five poets in the Midwest, twice. She was also a contributing writer for the Theatre LILA of Madison, Wisconsin.

Currently, Ajanae Dawkins is a fellow of The Watering Hole writer’s retreat for African American writers and of Pink Door Writing Retreat. She is also an editor for Voicemail Poems, the 2020 Nancy Craig Blackburn Fellow as an MFA candidate at Randolph College, and an Alford Scholar as an M.Div. candidate at Methodist Theological School of Ohio.

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About the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence Program:

 Established in 1986 by the Taft Museum of Art and the Robert S. Duncanson Society, this program honors the achievements of contemporary Black artists working in a variety of disciplines. The program honors the relationship between African American painter Robert S. Duncanson and his patron, Nicholas Longworth, who commissioned Duncanson to paint landscape murals in the foyer of his home, now the Taft Museum of Art. Dawkins will be the 35th artist-in-residence through the program’s long tenure. Residence sponsor: Ohio National Financial Services. Program sponsors: Phyllis McCallum and Steve Jemison. Media support is provided by The Cincinnati Herald and The Voice of Your Customer.

 

Public Events and Features:

Opening Reception | Duncanson Artist-in-Residence
Sunday, April 10 | 6–8 p.m. | Taft Museum of Art
Welcome the 35th Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, writer and performance artist Ajanae Dawkins, to the Taft Museum of Art! Meet this year’s artist and learn more about her work on this special night. Includes refreshments, a cash bar, and complimentary valet parking. This is a free community event. Capacity is limited.

Register

 

Talk | Prophetic Imagination in Prose & Poetry
Thursday, April 14 | 6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. | Taft Museum of Art
Join Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, Ajanae Dawkins, as she leads a discussion on the importance and impacts Black writers have had on archiving and preserving memories. Dawkins will explore how Black writers offer a mirror of the state of America, speaking towards a future that is rooted in both actuality and imagination. This is a free event. Cash bar available.

Register

 

Workshop | There’s a Word for That
Saturday, April 16 | 1–3 p.m. | WordPlay
Join Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, writer and performance artist Ajanae Dawkins, for a creative writing workshop at WordPlay. In this workshop, teens will discover how to tell stories by acquiring new language skills. Led by Dawkins, teens will learn about other languages to expand their storytelling abilities, employ literary devices, and embrace their imagination! This is a free event catered to teen audiences. All supplies included.

Register

 

Workshop | Confessional Writing
Saturday, April 23 | 11 a.m.–1 p.m. | Women Writing for (a) Change
Join Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, Ajanae Dawkins, and Women Writing for (a) Change for a workshop that explores the authenticity in writing. Attendees will investigate who is usually the “villain” or person causing harm in their work. Participants will learn how their writing can act as a distorted mirror and how their work might have the capacity to hold them accountable to be more radically honest. This is a free event. New and experienced writers are welcome. Recommended for ages 15+. Materials will be provided, or attendees are welcome to bring their favorite writing materials.

Register

 

Closing Reception | Duncanson Artist-in-Residence
Saturday, April 23 | 7–9 p.m. | Artsville

Celebrate the closing of the 35th Duncanson Artist-in-Residence with writer and performance artist Ajanae Dawkins and other community leaders. The evening includes a lively night of spoken word including performances by Britany Rogers and Cynthia Amoah. Live music will be provided by DJ O Sharp and vocalist CarolineINSPIRES Bennett. Cash bar available.

Register

 

 

The Duncanson Society:

The Taft’s Duncanson Artist-in-Residence was established in 1986 by the Robert S. Duncanson Society (founded by Doris Rankin Sells, the late William Joel McCray, and Ruth K. Meyer) to affirm an ongoing African American presence within the structure of the Taft Museum of Art.

The program honors the relationship between African American painter Robert S. Duncanson and his patron, Nicholas Longworth, who commissioned Duncanson to paint a series of eight landscape murals in the foyer of his home, now the Taft Museum of Art.

Dawkins will be ushering in the residency’s 35th year as a fitting prelude to the completion of the museum’s $12.7 million Bicentennial Infrastructure Project (June 2022), ensuring the preservation of its prized National Historic Landmarks: the Taft historic house and the Duncanson Murals.

 

About the Taft Museum of Art:

The Taft Museum of Art is a living landmark tucked away in downtown Cincinnati, where art and history live on the walls—and in the walls. Built around 1820 as a private home for several of Cincinnati’s most prominent citizens, the Taft Museum of Art is now one of the finest small art museums in America and holds National Historic Landmark status for its historic house and Duncanson murals.

Throughout our grounds, guests can also always enjoy special exhibitions, the historic outdoor garden, our Museum Shop and Lindner Family Café, events and programming for all ages, and complimentary on-site parking. It is all under one roof, culminating in a one-of-a-kind, multi-sensory experience that puts you at the center of art and history.

 

 

The Voice of Black Cincinnati is a media company designed to educate, recognize and create opportunities for African Americans. Want to find local news, events, job posting, scholarships and a database of local Black-owned businesses? Visit our homepage, explore other articles, subscribe to our newsletter, like our Facebook page, join our Facebook group and text VOBC to 513-270-3880. 

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