Artists in Residence

Amiri Farris

Artists in Residence

Culture and Community at the Penn Center National Historic Landmark District offers artist residencies each year. To be selected, projects must engage with, or partner with, one or more of the Sea Island communities. Projects may also build from material or archival holdings in Penn Center, or other relevant museums, archives, or collections. Outcomes—readings, exhibitions, performances or installations—will be mounted at Penn Center, or another suitable site, which may be in coordination with the annual Penn Center Heritage Festival. Calls for proposals for artist residencies will be issued in the autumn of each year.


2023-24 Artist in Residence

Amiri Geuka Farris

Culture and Community at the Penn Center National Historic Landmark District has named Amiri Geuka Farris as its second artist in residence. Through the residency and its theme of “Land and Justice,” Farris will engage with the history and heritage of Penn Center and with its surrounding community in the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor.

Farris is a Bluffton, SC-based interdisciplinary artist whose work has been featured in more than 50 solo exhibitions and juried museum shows nationally and internationally.

“For my Culture & Community residency I plan on creating a body of work focused on Gullah Geechee culture, land conservation, nature, and heirs’ property, which I plan to explore through various media including photography and painting,” he said. “By examining these themes, I hope to create meaningful works that can be shared with the community and exhibited in museums and galleries.”

Farris was appointed to the residency by a committee including members of cultural and artistic organizations connected to Penn Center and led by Deloris Pringle, chair of Penn Center’s Board of Trustees.

“Amiri Geuka Farris’s experience as a preservationist, educator, musical performer, videographer, and cultural curator places his bold and brilliant art at the intersection of people, place, and time,” said Penn board member Tia Powell Harris, vice president for education and community engagement at New York City Center, who served on the selection committee.

“His art is often rooted in the legacy of the Gullah Geechee heritage and his desire to uplift the tenacity of the Gullah people,” Harris said. “We look forward with great anticipation to Amiri’s residency at the historic Penn Center and to the dynamic visual stories that will emerge from his interactions with our supportive staff and board, a welcoming community, and the indomitable spirit of the elders past and present, who have served as stewards of the land.”

The beginning of Farris’s residency launched the partnership’s second year of public programs, which included two Penn Center Community Conversations and two cohorts of Student Summer Research Residencies: on-site classes and workshops with students and faculty from colleges and universities across the Southeast. The first of 2023’s public conversations, “Penn Center, Land, and Community,” was held at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 22 in Penn Center’s Frissell Community House. The research residencies included workshops and conversations that Farris led with students and other participants.

2022 Artists in Residence

Tamika Galanis and Anina Major

The first Penn Center artist residencies will be held by Anina Major and Tamika Galanis, who will collaborate on an installation that will be presented in July 2022. Galanis and Major, both from The Bahamas and based in Durham, NC and New York City, respectively, are multimedia artists whose work interrogates popular conceptions of place: Major’s through investigating “the relationship between self and place as a site of negotiation,” and Galanis’s by examining “the complexities of living in a place shrouded in tourism’s ideal during the age of climate concerns.”

The two artists made their first visit to Penn Center in December 2021 to introduce themselves to its unique surrounding environment and culture. “Our introductory week at the Penn Center and on St. Helena Island was transformative for me,” Galanis said. “It was the opportunity for ideas that we knew to be true in spirit alone up to that point to materialize – through fellowshipping with the community; grounding ourselves in the actual landscape; and getting really excited about the idea of an exchange between the two cultures, and what that would look like or mean.”