Artist In Residence Program

Our bi-annual Artist in Residence program is designed to bring in creative thinkers to engage the public about the role and importance of libraries in the United States.

Our bi-annual Artist in Residence program is designed to bring in creative thinkers to engage the public about the role and importance of libraries in the United States. These artists come from a wide range or backgrounds and bring forward new skills and abilities to the organization. They express themselves through a wide range of mediums such as performance art, drawing and painting, theater, and street art.

2019 Artists in Residence

EveryLibrary will host three exciting visual and performance artists for our 2019 Artist in Residence program. We are happy to welcome VersAnnette Blackman, Brandon Monokian, and Rachal Duggan for our third biennale Artist in Residence program. From September through early November, these artists will explore the intersection of politics and libraries through their own creative lenses. EveryLibrary will host in-person and virtual exhibits, performances, and showcases to engage the library community and our network of Americans who support librarians in this country.

Each artist will be showcased on EveryLibrary’s social media and web platforms as well as hosting a real-world component or performance:

VersAnnette Blackman-Bosia is a visual artist, author, poet, and facilitator. She is the founder of and artist behind Soul Revival Healing Arts and has served as a trauma-informed facilitator teaching art in domestic violence shelters and Chicago high schools. VersAnnette will bring her intuitive painting approach to a series of large paintings, culminating with an exhibition opening on October 19th in the Chicagoland area. Connect with her on Instagram @soulrevivalhealingarts

Brandon Monokian is an actor, director, and writer for stage and film. His credits include Happy Yummy Chicken, Revolutionary Readings, and he co-created the Page to Stage series at the Princeton Public Library. For his residency with EveryLibrary, Brandon has written a new play titled amethyst. that will premiere as a reading at the 2019 Philly Fringe Festival in September. Connect with him on Twitter @bmakestheatre and Instagram @brandonmonokian.

Rachal Duggan is an illustrator, instructor, and live drawer for publications and organizations including NYLON Magazine, The Guardian, and the Pitchfork Review. She has been an Artist in Residence at the Bubbler at Madison (WI) Public Library. For her residency, she will be working on a series of crowd-sourced “interesting facts” about libraries, highlighting one library in each state for a total of fifty drawings throughout the AIR. Connect with her on Instagram @radillustrates

While each of our featured Artists brings their skills and creativity to this project, we are fortunate to have Erinn Batykefer and Laura Damon-Moore join us as the Producers of the 2019 EveryLibrary AIR program. As Producers, Laura and Erinn have invited each artist to consider and interpret the role, nature, and impact – realized or nascent – of librarians and library services in our country. From 2011 – 2017 their groundbreaking Library as Incubator Project brought new attention to arts programming in libraries, especially by focusing on the innovations that come from artists and creators interacting with the public.  Their new book Incubating Creativity at Your Library will be released by ALA Editions in 2019.

EveryLibrary’s Artist in Residence program will run during September, October, and early November 2019. This time period represents the traditional “Labor Day to Election Day” campaign season but, being an “off-cycle” year, allows us to reflect back and look forward to national, state, and local political campaigns to come. As a national political action committee for libraries, we believe that it is important to ask questions about the role of libraries as taxpayer-supported institutions, and the nature of librarians as both public servants and transformational change agents. 

2017 Artist In Residence

EveryLibrary Brings Political and Editorial Cartooning to Libraries
Meet 2017 Artist in Residence Kevin Moore

"Libraries have long faced challenges in securing funding, serving diverse constituents, and keeping current with rapid technological changes. This year poses a more serious threat to the support of libraries because the patrons and students they serve are being made vulnerable by drastic changes in immigration policy and economic disparity. Yet librarians are rising to these challenges and pushing back. With my Artist in Residency I hope to provide amusing and inspiring cartoons that can help library supporters highlight the different ways libraries provide value to their communities. My work will reflect the values that librarians stand for: freedom of information, diversity of access and the rights of citizens to inform themselves, make up their own minds, and contribute to debates on issues vital to our society and to our nation. These cartoons will be shareable, meme-friendly, and humorous. I hope to contribute to the efforts of EveryLibrary and anyone who loves libraries."

Political and editorial cartooning is one of the oldest forms of political expression in America. Libraries and political cartoons share a common American ancestor in Benjamin Franklin. Around the same time he set up the Library Company in Philadelphia, his newspaper was printing the “Join or Die” cartoons calling for American self-determination. There is a long and important interaction between the arts and politics. We want to purposely bring this tradition to the discussion of library funding and library ballot measures across the country.

EveryLibrary is proud to welcome Kevin Moore as our 2017 Artist in Residence. As a noted editorial cartoonist and a working librarian, Mr. Moore will bring a unique and timely perspective to the political climate for libraries through new creative work. This Residency begins September 4th, 2017 and will run through November 7th, the traditional “Labor Day to Election Day” period when political and issue campaigns are in the minds of voters across the country. Mr. Moore will produce a series of weekly editorial cartoons focused on library-related issues and themes which will be released by EveryLibrary for use copyright free by libraries across social media and outreach channels. His Residency will be capped-off by an interactive collaboration across EveryLibrary’s extensive network of library activists and advocates.

You can follow Kevin Moore’s Residency work here and you can participate through our Facebook and Twitter feed. Highly shareable panels for each week are on EveryLibrary's magazine for the public at Medium.com/EveryLibrary

2015 Artist in Residence

EveryLibrary understands that voters are motivated to vote because of their perception of both the library as an institution and of the librarians as compassionate, engaged professionals in their communities. We believe that there are some very effective and resonate slogans, images, and campaigns about libraries at loose in the world. But we don’t see people talking about their librarians, or the brand of librarian, as much as we need them to. We think that is because we don’t know how to talk about ourselves well.

In 2015, we wanted to address that. EveryLibrary launched what appears to be a unique project for a political action committee: an Artist-In-Residence program. We were pleased to have chosen Cincinnati, Ohio–based artist/librarian Steve Kemple as our first AIR “Artist-In-Residence.” Over the course of six months, Steve curated a series of eight virtual art installations and performances at libraries everywhere. His project, called “We’re In This Together,” consisted of a series of synchronous and asynchronous events that could be performed by library staff at libraries nationwide. The project’s aim was to “transform libraries from the inside out with magical thinking” and to “ignite a sense of wonder among library workers everywhere, encouraging libraries to approach with new eyes their vital role in the public sphere and the wider ecosystem of cultural institutions.”

Notable highlights from the series include recording and issuing our first full-length album of librarians shushing, delivering the World’s Smallest Sculpture for display at every library in the world, and sending flowers to civic and cultural institutions across town. The most notable event was Performance No. 7, #High5aLibrarianDay. Through a bit of pluck and bravado, Mr. Kemple was able to make the project go viral and over 11 million Twitter impressions later, a wonderful moment of professional recognition was born. Annually, we plan on celebrating November 18 as #High5aLibrarianDay. Thousands of people participated in the performances.

Performance 1 on June 10: Shhhhhhh….. invited library people from around the world to call in and record their own shushing sound, which was then edited and compiled into an album download. It has been cataloged.

Performance 2 on June 23 and August 6: Thinking of You encouraged library folks to send flowers, with or without a nice card, to other public institutions in their area. This performance ran for the length of the project.

Performance 3 on August 4: International Space Station Fly Over High Five requested that whenever the International Space Station flew over your library that you and at least one colleague would high five.

Performance 4 on August 17: The World’s Smallest Sculpture was delivered to every library in the world. Those who chose to display it were asked to report back on this special one-day showing to their public.

Performance 5 on November 3: We’re in This (Submarine) Together allowed everyone to play a recording of submarine sounds at their reference desk. It was also Election Day.

Performance 6 on November 16: Catalog the Sunset asked librarians to use a standard markup language jointly developed for the project to retain a local record of their local sunset.

Performance 7 on November 18: #High5aLibrarianDay, in which it’s a great idea to high five a librarian, or provide some other recognition of how awesome they all are.

Performance 8 on November 30: One Perfect Moment encouraged reflection at 2:34 p.m. CST on how we are all truly “In This Together.”

All the “We’re In This Together” performances were hosted through the EveryLibrary Facebook page and promoted through our social media and website channels. A retrospective of this series will be published in early 2016. We anticipate hosting a new Artist-In-Residence in the second half of the year.


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