#PPGArtists: Public Studio Residencies at the Power Plant Gallery

This summer, the Power Plant Gallery, an initiative of the Center for Documentary Studies and MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University, inaugurates a residency program for individual artists and artist groups. Three separate one-month public studio residencies will be held in June, July, and August at the 1,500-square-foot gallery, located at the historic American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham.

A laboratory for documentary and experimental art practices, the Power Plant Gallery promotes creative work while engaging with audiences through the transformative power of the arts in society. In this spirit, the gallery will hold open hours Thursdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m.–6 p.m. during the summer residencies to foster public interest in the art-making process, not just the final product. Artists-in-residence will be encouraged to engage with the public during open hours, exploring the full relationship between artist and audience, and will have full access to the gallery space during the rest of the week.

Congratulations to the 2016 #PPGArtists:


June | William Paul Thomas
Mood Swings multimedia portrait series in two parts: TEEF: Good for the Soul (video) and Black & Blue (painting)

“In the midst of all the turmoil and rampant violence happening around the country, I think it is imperative that we all identify creative strategies to counter negative energy with life-affirming interventions. For the past two years, I have been collecting short audio clips from men recounting personal moments of happiness. I have recorded some of these men smiling as long as they can before it becomes unbearable. My goal is to compose a series of enigmatic and endearing living portraits that stitch together the lives of a diverse group of people using their own words.”

Accompanying the video project will be large portraits from the people Thomas encounters during the residency. The palette will consist of naturalistic tones transitioning to bluish monochromatic tones.


July | MJ Sharp
In Place (working title) archival photography project

“I have documented my family for thirty years and have published and shown many of those individual photographs over the years, but I have never before been struck by an idea to combine them into one art piece. My initial impulse, which may evolve as I get more deeply into it, is to find compelling images of similar vantage points over decades and combine them in such a way that they blend all the temporal realities portrayed in the pictures.”


August | qUest: Nina Be, Isabel Castellvi, Shaleigh Comerford, Catherine Howard, Stacy Kirby, and Madelyn Sovern
Meditations on Echos of Breath  multimedia experience

“This artists’ collaborative project will be a series of dynamic and interactive ‘living canvases’ expressing the many aspects of breathing, and how breath affects and is affected by individual states of being within different environments. Meditative spaces and situations for artists and viewers will be intentionally created to support connection to that which is breathing, has ever breathed, and will breathe, as echoes that affect present reality. The ability to ‘focus and feel’ is the shared artistic theme with an underlying theme of ‘nontoxic’ nourishing breath being examined in reference to our work being housed in a ‘power plant.’”

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