Studio Lab Artist Residency

Studio Lab Artist Residency is a program that provides artists and collectives, working in a diverse array of media and across genres, with research and development space and resources. Studio Lab Artist Residencies are highly customizable, flexible, and inclusive of all artistic and research based practices—with an emphasis on experimentation within medium and form.

Currently, the Studio Lab Artists Residency program is by invitation only. 

Jessica Feldman

January  – April, 2018

Jessica Feldman, Flight from NYC to Porto, 2016, video still from Hold Up Half the Sky.

Harlem Police Violence Protest, 2015, video still from Hold Up Half the Sky.

Pro Arts’ Studio Lab Artist in Residency program welcomes Jessica Feldman as our first artist in residence in 2018. Jessica Feldman is an artist working mainly with sound and digital media. Her works include sculptures, performances, installations, videos, and compositions. Many of her pieces are interactive, and deal with the relationships among the body, new digital and network technologies, and the intimate psychological and communal social dynamics enabled by these tools. Pieces have been performed, installed and exhibited internationally at art galleries, museums, concert halls, public parks, city streets, tiny closets, boats, the New York City subways, and the internet. Recent venues include Socrates Sculpture Park, LMAKProjects, Roulette, The Stone, Maison Jandelle, The Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, White Box, The Kitchen, and many outdoor, public sites. She has received commissions, residencies, and grants from New York State Council on the Arts, NewHive, the LMCC, and Meet the Composer, among others.  She has taught sound art and media studies at The New School, Temple University, and NYU. She received an MFA in Intermedia Art from Bard, an MA in Experimental Music from Wesleyan, and a PhD in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU. She is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University.

While in residency at Studio Lab at Pro Arts, Jessica will work on Hold Up Half the Sky – a video and sound installation, made from field recordings and videos, gathered while walking in rallies/protests in a handful of international cities from 2014-2017. The piece consists of video footage of the sky, captured from above, while flying, and from below, while walking, shot by holding a cell phone camera overhead, with corresponding audio. The installation will contrast the raucous, human, emotional sounds of protest with visuals of the slow, ephemeral, drifting clouds and changing light. Temporalities and spatialities are juxtaposed in the piece: focused, immediate, human strife – both specific to a location and endemic of globalization; the tiny scale and portability of the mobile phone; the wide-reaching connectivity it proposes; the earth’s continual rotation; the pavement; the sky; the specificity of languages; the universality of chants; walking and lingering in the streets; flying across time zones and borders. While the visuals of the videos from these sites are similar, the audio reveals the experience of living under specific skies in specific moments. The video installation will be controlled via hacked smartphones, so that viewers can touch the tiny bits of circuitry that are responsible for playback, attempting to use their hands to control large scale projections of the sky. The project speaks to issues of scale and globalization, the specificity of site, and the production process of smartphones, bringing a sense of materiality and embodiment to the capacities of the technologies. The hardware of the devices – made mostly by women in factories in the Far East, hired in part because of the smallness of their hands – is used to control the vastness of the worldview imagined by the technologies. Hold Up Half the Sky takes its name from the famous saying (attributed to Mao Zedong) that “women hold up half the sky.” The piece attempts to put together a patchwork of conflict, protest, and boundaries, while drawing attention the perspectives of those below the sites of power and consumption.

Artist Statement

I make sound installations, sculptures, performances, videos, and compositions, which consider how new and emerging media can touch, constrict, or move the subject, and how this connects to political possibilities. Many of my large-scale projects have been site-specific installations in public, urban space, using systems and media that manipulate but do not touch the body: prison architectures, acoustic weaponry, video surveillance tools. Such issues concern a wide audience and I prefer to site them in accessible, non-commercial spaces, bringing up questions about the ways in which the public sphere is shaped through these media. My work has shifted over recent years from a critique of these media, towards an interest in creating objects and spaces that offer possibilities for new or different modes of listening, sociality, and interaction. Sculptures and installations, as well as net projects, seek to reimagine the sensual body and habits of listening as they relate to (the longing for) connection and co-presence. Particularly in my interactive installations, I care a lot about directing systems and objects of privatization, capture, and surveillance (walls, cameras, recordings, money) towards poetics of intimacy and community normally foreclosed. A project will turn a wall into a transmitter, collapse a surveillance tower to make a place for gathering, or masquerade as clickbait to navigate towards the voices of incarcerated people. I see this redirection as a political gesture, which facilitates intimacy and recognition between political subjects who might not normally consider each other.

Jessica Feldman, Projecting, 2007, installation with two-way mirror, video & audio loop, floodlight, mixed media.

Jessica Feldman, Projecting, 2007, installation with two-way mirror, video & audio loop, floodlight, mixed media.


Victoria Heilweil & Mobile Arts Platform (Peter Foucault +Chris Treggiari) 

September 1 – September 30, 2017

Mobile Arts Platform (MAP), artist and educator Victoria Mara Heilweil, and The Center For Investigative Reporting (CIR) have joined forces to produce Community Sourced, a pop-up variety show across neighborhoods in Oakland.

Using a custom set built on a portable flatbed trailer as a mobile public stage, MAP and Heilweil are working with four regions in Oakland that will serve as the sites for each episode. The events will be filmed by collaborating artist Bryan Hewitt, live-streamed and preserved through video and custom zines. The goal of this project is to share and celebrate the people and stories that can be found within a few blocks of each other, spark connections, and address the issues that are pertinent to residents.


The Mobile Arts Platform (MAP) is a Bay Area artmaking and curatorial team founded in 2009 by Peter Foucualt and Chris Treggiari with the goal of creating mobile exhibition structures that engage the public. MAP creates an autonomous exhibition space, an artistic research lab where a cross pollination of mediums and genres can occur, be accessible to the public, and create strong bonds with partner communities. MAP events include video screenings, visual art installations, performance art, live music, interactive artworks, and culinary art. The collaborative duo build temporary, creative microcosms where community and creativity can intersect and flourish.

Victoria Mara Heilweil is a nationally exhibited fine art photographer. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the de Young Museum, San Jose Institute for Contemporary Art, Intersection for the Arts, Southern Exposure, California Academy of Sciences, Art Works Downtown, PHOTO Fine Art and Rayko Photo Gallery in the Bay Area. She has also created public and community based art works in conjunction with the ZERO1 Biennial in San Jose, CA and the Bayview Opera House in San Francisco, CA. In 2014, Heiweil was awarded a grant from the Puffin Foundation. In addition to her exhibition history, for the past 18 years Victoria has taught photography and design classes at colleges including San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts, City College of San Francisco, Art Center College of Design and California State University, Fullerton. Heiweil received a Masters in Photography from California College of the Arts, and is a mom to a funny and inquisitive daughter.

Allison Leigh Holt: New Media 

June 1 – July 30, 2017

Image: Allison Leigh Holt, Strange Loop No. 4, 2016, scientific glass, rare earth magnets, mirrors, 4 x 8 x 8 in.

New media and video artist, Allison Leigh Holt will join the Studio Lab Artist Residency this June in preparation for her solo exhibition , The Beginning Was The End and Glass System at Pro Arts in July.

During her residency, Allison will be finalizing her production of video sculptures, as well as creating a site-specific glass lenses installation.


Working at the intersection of sculpture, video, installation, and performance, Allison Leigh Holt pursues a dialogue between divergent ways of experiencing, comprehending, and describing reality. During her residency, Holt will be preparing for her solo exhibition, The Beginning Was The End and The Glass System, which opens Friday, July 7, 2017 from 6:00 – 9:00pm.

Holt has received numerous awards from institutions including the U.S. Department of State (Fulbright Fellowship, Indonesia), Djerassi Resident Artist Program, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the David Bermant Foundation, Cemeti Art House (Indonesia), the Experimental Television Center, and the North Dakota Museum of Art. She is a 2016 finalist for a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, and is a current Eureka Fellowship nominee.

Her work has exhibited internationally, notably at SFMOMA, Stanford University, Anthology Film Archives (NYC), Cemeti Art House (Indonesia), the Boston Cyberarts Festival, San Francisco Cinematheque, Axiom Gallery for New and Experimental Media (Boston), the Urban Screens Conference (Melbourne), and the Yogyakarta International New Media Festival.

Ellen Shershow: Photography

May 1 – June 20, 2017

Ellen Shershow will join the Studio Lab Artist Residency Program as our first portrait photographer. While in residence, Ellen will be producing a new body of work and shooting dog portraits on site at Pro Arts.


Ellen Shershow’s inspiration comes from a wide range of places, including but not limited to Vogue magazine, People magazine,  reality TV, John Szarkowski, Joan Rivers, Dolly Parton, Steve Martin, Diane Arbus, Mad MenBreakfast at Tiffany’sBest In Show, Woody Allen and Golden Gate Park at dawn. Ellen draws her color pallet from Dutch Renaissance painters, Gerard Dou, Rogier Van Der Weyden and Johannes Vermeer.

Most of all, she is inspired by the Dog.

The dog is slobbery and kooky and soulful and precious. Next to Steve Martin, Jennifer Coolidge and Sarah Silverman, they are the funniest creatures in the world. We are enthralled by them, the gentle gaze, the unconditional love, the stories of dog as hero. Photographing senior dogs, dogs who are blind or deaf or hurting, is indeed close to Ellen’s heart.

She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Krista DeNio: Interdisciplinary choreographer, director, performer, writer and educator

February 3 – March 31, 2017

During this residency, Krista DeNio will further several threads of ​her current research into human​ and plant​ survival.​ The work will include researching mechanisms of plant communication and survival in relationship with human systems of communication and survival. Krista’s residency lead up to her culminating performance with collaborator Stephanie Mount titled “BOUND” on Friday, March 17, 2017.

Her additional continued research includes interviews and dialogue with formerly incarcerated individuals to uncover personal experiences of the human mind-body complex surviving confinement. This research is part of several upcoming projects, including NETWORK a seed project, to premiere at U.C. Berkeley’s Berkeley Dance Project, which will bring together plant and human survival issues including incarceration; and BOUND, a current collaboration with actor/ creator Stephanie DeMott, exploring stories of women suffering and surviving systemic oppressions, from incarceration to sexism, racism and the underlying patriarchy.

​DeNio & DeMott researched the physical work of BOUND, a piece created and performed recently at TEATRAL, an international theater festival in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The research includes working within the physical limitation of a space the size of a typical prison cell, 6’x8′.​ Various materials will be used to create these cell spaces. Working with stories from formerly incarcerated collaborators, and female historical archetypes, we will explore methods of literal, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual survival methods they created/designed while in the confinement of systemic oppression.


Krista DeNio is an interdisciplinary choreographer, director, performer, writer and educator, committed to developing new forms of performance work and evolving interdisciplinary thinking and creation between the fields of dance and theater, among others. Her work, as Artistic Director of KD/MovingGround, investigates the interrelationship between impactful socio-political issues and our intimate personal lives. Current projects include: EchoTheaterSuitcase project, bringing together mixed ensembles of military veterans and civilian non-veterans, to create original, site-specific, audience interactive performance work based on the stories of each unique ensemble. The project’s most recent iteration, STAND GROUND, featuring an all female ensemble of veterans and non-veteran theater artists, was co-produced with CounterPulse, in Fall 2016, where Krista is also a “House Artist” and has been a two-time Artist-in-Residence.


Stephanie DeMott is an actor, mover, and teacher. She graduated summa cum laude from San Francisco State with a B.A. in Theater Arts and Creative Writing, and received her M.F.A from the American Conservatory Theater. She has performed with A.C.T., Magic Theatre, TheatreFirst, Word For Word, and Mugwumpin, among others. Favorite roles include May in Fool For Love, Orlando in Sarah Ruhl’s play of the same name, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, and Emma in The Great Big Also. She is a company member of Mugwumpin, a performance ensemble company based in San Francisco. In the summer of 2014, Stephanie went to Burning Man as a devised theater instructor for CIIS to facilitate the making of theater under extreme conditions. In November of 2015, she participated in the first incarnation of Groundswell, an immersive theater intensive in San Miguel de Allende, conceived by Jon Tracy and Taylor Korobow. She’s in an ongoing collaboration with the University of Chichester’s Dr. Louie Jenkins.

Lasse Lau & Flo Maak: Visual Art & Performance 

January 9 – February 6, 2017

During their residency in January of 2017 leading up to their installation, “Technologies of the Kitchen”, Lau and Maak will conduct weekly programs including artist talks, performances, lectures and various performance-based programs to connect with local Bay Area community organizations. Their residency at Pro Arts introduced the project to new artists, activists, queer and other communities throughout the Bay Area to enrich their research and cross-disciplinary approach.


Flo Maak (b. 1980, Fulda, Germany) attended HfbK Staedelschule (2001- 2009), majoring in Fine Art. He also studied Visual Arts at Cooper Union (2007) in New York City. Selected solo exhibitions include “Nichts tun wie ein Biest” at Bielefelder Kunstverein (2009), “Trompe-l’eil Polizei” in cooperation with Free Class Frankfurt at Frankfurter Kunstverein (2008), “soft skills” at haus nummer 11 in Frankfurt (2007), “silent specters” at JET in Berlin (2006), and “Untitled” at Nomaden Oase in Hamburg. Selected group exhibitions include “I Animal! (You Human)” at Perla Mode in Zurich (2010), “Lyst” at Overgaden in Copenhagen (2009), “Dear Anus” at VBKO in Vienna (2008), and “Werkbund e. V.” at Hessische Landesvertretung in Berlin.

Lasse Lau (b. 1974, Sønderborg, Denmark) is a filmmaker and performance artist who currently lives and works in New York. His films and performances deal with socio-economic issues, the negotiation of conflicts and the notion of space through the language of film and performance. Lau seeks to utilize aesthetics as a framework that can open dialogical paths. He has exhibited in a wide range of museums and galleries including Westfälischer Kunstverein (Münster, Germany), Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin, Germany), Aarhus Art Museum (Aarhus, Denmark), Brandts Klædefabrik (Odense, Denmark), Museum of Contemporary Art (Zagreb, Croatia), the Turin Biennial of Contemporary Art (Turin, Italy), Contemporary Museum (Baltimore, USA) and MoMA PS1 (New York, USA). Lau is the co-founder and long time board member of Kran Film Collective and was a member of the Editorial Selection Board at The Danish Film Institute Video Workshop 2001-02. He studied at the Media Art Department at Funen Art Academy (Odense, Denmark), at the Hochschule der Künste (Berlin, Germany) and at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program (New York, USA).

*Flo Maak and Lasse Lau’s Residency and Exhibition at Pro Arts is made possible with a generous grant by the Danish Arts Foundation (DK).

Mugwumpin: Experimental Theatre

July 5 – August 31, 2016

Mugwumpin was selected for the Studio Lab Residency, taking over Pro Arts Gallery throughout the summer of 2016. Mugwumpin used the time and space to offer four free public events, including the latest iteration of Luster. For this performance, Mugwumpin joined forces with an acclaimed photographer to bring participants visions of lush beauty to life. It starts with a conversation between the participant and a Mugwumpin artist. Together, they delved into their appetite for the ravishing and sublime. The artist then immediately transformed the participant’s ideas into costume and performance. This is a performative manifestation of their beautiful ideal, but amped up: more splendid, more plush, more saturated. Participants then went home with a photographic portrait and their Mugwumpin artist.

Performed by: Madeline H.D. Brown, Stephanie DeMott, Natalie Greene, Ryan Marchand, Soren Shane Santos

Mugwumpin is an award-winning San Francisco theater and performance company, part of a wave of young American companies who are expanding the art form by questioning the primacy of text and narrative in theater and playfully transgressing received notions of the audience-performer relationship. Since its founding, Mugwumpin has created 13 evening-length productions and many smaller performances, all of which premiered in the Bay Area. The company’s first show, Rabbit Causes Dog, was named Best Play at the 2004 SF Fringe Festival. In 2008, Mugwumpin thrilled international audiences at the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre with its original work Super:Anti:Reluctant.

In 2010, This Is All I Need played to packed houses and universal critical acclaim in San Francisco. It was named Best Play by both SF Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian before embarking upon a successful European tour in 2011. And their most recent productions, Future Motive Power and The Great Big Also, reaped sold-out houses and critical praise for their “provocative images and ideas” and their “urgent call for us to question our ideals and associations and to cultivate that other, neglected American quality: staunch individualism” (Lily Janiak, HowlRound).

Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh: Visual Art

March 11 – May 15, 2016

Oni-Eseleh is an Oakland-based visual artist who has been working for the past couple of years on images that document the shifting urban landscape and evoke the different meanings of  “home”.

A central component of this work has been the idea of the fallacy of memory when referencing the past and the distortion of stories told in repetition. Her residency work will include that photographs reconstructing miniature worlds and incomplete narratives.


Dawline-Jane Oni-Eseleh is an Oakland, CA based visual artist whose current work is focused primarily on the shifting urban landscape. An avid observer and prolific photographer, she employs a vast catalog of visual notes and memories to create her work. A lover of materials and process, Dawline-Jane uses a range of media including relief print making, pen and ink, photo transfer and encaustic