Studio Lab Residency

Studio Lab Residency is a program that provides artists and collectives, working in a diverse array of media and across genres, with research, development, production, and exhibition space and resources.

We welcome applications from cultural workers, curators, writers, poets, art historians, and theoreticians. Depending on the timeline of residencies in progress, we often pair an International artist with local curator, regional based writer with local artist, local cultural worker with International curator, etc. Studio Lab affords contemporary artists the space, time, resources, and peer network they often lack in today’s production-driven art world environment.

Studio Lab Visiting Artist Residencies are highly customizable, flexible, and inclusive of all artistic and research based practices—with an emphasis on experimentation within medium and form. At one time, there may be more than 5 residents at Pro Arts space who engage with our community, participate in our public programs, and advocate for the importance of the arts and culture in the city of Oakland.


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.

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.

Through collaboration with artist Lucia Monge, and her research at the Rhode Island Nature Lab, DeNio will work with ​Monge’s visual “maps” of trees and tree movement, as source for human movement exploration​ and somatic learning, among other shared research.

​DeNio & DeMott will continue to research 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.


Lucia Monge is a Peruvian artist with a background in education and art – science collaborations. Her work explores the way humans position ourselves within the natural world; the way we relate to other living beings and lately extended to what we even consider as such. Beyond an aesthetic search, her artistic process represents an attempt to probe proximity and distance between humans and plants through material and movement exploration. She holds a BFA degree from Universidad Católica del Peru, an MFA degree from Rhode Island School of Design and is a certified Art Educator. Her work has been shown in Lima, London, Providence, New York, Austin, Buenos Aires, Oaxaca and Mexico City. For six years now she has been dedicated to the organization of walking forest performances that lead to the creation of public green areas. Her “Plantón Móvil” project has been included in publications and group shows in Peru, Germany, the United States, the Netherlands, Brazil and the UK. She currently lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island at the Rhode Island Nature Lab. 

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.


Rochelle Spencer: Curator & Writer

March 7 – April 28, 2017

During her residency, Rochelle will be working closely with the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop to develop an Eco-Arts Reading Festival.This one-day event is scheduled for Earth Day on Saturday, April 22nd. The festival will consist of 25 local writers who will participate in a Read-In and share a poem or a story that explores nature or the urban landscape at an outdoor festival. Participants include members of Laney College’s eco-art class to participate and environmental organizations to share work.

Rochelle’s residency will culminate in the exhibition “Let’s Play”, which will open at Pro Arts on Friday, June 2, 2017 from 6:00 – 9:00pm.  This exhibit pairs the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop with local artists and Oakland residents to examine how play intersects with urban life. This group exhibition will demonstrate how play can disrupt conventional ways of thinking and serve as a form of rebellion. “Let’s Play” will include, but is not limited to, a Monopoly-style game with Park Place or Boardwalk replaced with Oakland streets, a miniature golf game featuring Oakland landmarks, and poems and stories from writers incorporating the idea of play into their work.

Rochelle will be holding office hours on Thursdays from 4:00pm – 5:00pm. Office hours will include informal chats and discussions on Surrealism, Ethno-Surrealism, and the Bureau of AfroSurrealist Research, based on the Bureau of Surrealist Research.

Rochelle Spencer is founder of the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop and co-editor of All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women Writers of Color (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2014), which has been named a “must-read” feminist book of 2014 by Ms.Magazine. Rochelle has received fellowships to the Vermont Studio Center and the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and her work appears in a variety of publications, including the African American Review, Poets and Writers, Eleven Eleven, the East Bay Review, Callaloo, the Carbon Culture Review, the LA Review, and Mosaic. Rochelle is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and a former board member of the Hurston Wright Foundation.

AfroSurreal Writers Workshop supports writers of color creating weird, surreal, or absurdist art. The AfroSurreal Writers Workshop fights for the rights of all marginalized people, including senior citizens, religious and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, the LGBITQ communities, members of poor and working class neighborhoods, and of course, PoC. The group holds an annual conference on AfroSurrealism at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland where we celebrate local writers and artists who create unusual art. An Eco-Arts Festival and Conference is taking the place of this year’s conference.

Gipe + Tell: Collaborative Curator Duo

April 4 – May 1, 2017

During their residency, the collaborative pair will be preparing for the upcoming exhibition, Everyone is Hypnotized: Artists Dérive the Bay Area opening on Friday, May 5th. Gipe + Tell’s residency aligns with Pro Arts’ yearlong programming dissecting the Situationist International movement and its influence today.

Gipe+Tell maintain an interdisciplinary practice exhibiting as an art team and curating group exhibitions in the Bay Area. One of their current curatorial emphasis is to create installations and books inspired by the tenets of Situationism, in particular the process of dérive. They recognize in the artists, poets and architects of the Situationist International a constellation of methodologies that functioned effectively on political, critical and sociological levels. They assert that their strategies are worth reviving, and are entirely relevant given the current state of global upheaval that in many ways echoes the late-1950’s and 1960’s.

In the role of curator-organizers during their residency, they pose the question: What tactics and templates for action can artists use, to engage intellectual investigation, creative growth, and critical interrogation? The dérive offers a possibility for engagement or detachment, a process of looking for aspects of psycho-geographic interest during what Debord called a “passage through varied ambiences.”


Opening Reception: Friday, May 5, 6:00 – 9:00pm


Gipe+Tell maintain an interdisciplinary practice based in the Bay area, exhibiting as an art team and curating group exhibitions. Since 2013, they have curated three exhibitions, including “The Known Universe” (March 2015), which was the recipient of the Curatorial Proposal Grant at Root Division, San Francisco, CA. They have exhibited their own work, an installation called “Is This Normal?” at InSpace Curatorial in the Felt Factory (curated by Hanna Regev); and in “Some Men”, a collaborative installation at t moro projects, Santa Clara, CA.

Mobile Arts Platform: Peter Foucault, Chris Treggiari, and Victoria Heilweil

May 2 – June 1, 2017

In 2017, Mobile Arts Platform (MAP), artist and educator Victoria Mara Heilweil, video artist Bryan Hewitt and The Center For Investigative Reporting (CIR) will join forces for a new community initiative. Community Source(d) is a pop-up news and variety show that will be performed – and sourced – from neighborhoods across Oakland, celebrating its people, history and places.

Using a custom set built on a portable flatbed trailer to create a mobile public stage, Mobile Arts Platform will visit four specific communities throughout the year that will serve as the sites and inspiration for each “episode” of the series. The collaborative group will work with community organizations in each neighborhood to identify prime spaces for the performances and co-create the show’s programming with the people that live within a five-block radius from the performance location.

The result of this project will consist of four episodes of Community Source(d) that will be entirely unique to each community. The events will be recorded, live-streamed and preserved through video and custom zines that can be printed and redistributed back into the community, around Oakland and to local influencers. The goal of this project is to share and celebrate the people and stories that can be found within a few blocks’ distance, connect neighbors to each other and address the issues that are unique and pertinent to the area.  


Project Space Opening Reception: Friday, June 2, 2017, 6:00 – 9:00pm


Peter Foucault has participated in numerous exhibitions nationwide, with recent solo shows at K. Imperial Fine Art (San Francisco), Room Gallery (Mill Valley, CA), Micalea Gallery, the SFMOMA Café, and the Richmond Art Center (Richmond, CA). His work has been included in group shows at the Getty Museum and Getty Villa, Torrance Museum (Los Angeles, CA), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco, CA), Marine Contemporary (Santa Monica, CA), Smithsonian Institutes’ Freer and Sackler Gallery, Kit Schulte Contemporary (Berlin, Germany), The University of Salford (Manchester, England), and The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, CA).

Chris Treggiari lives and works in the Bay Area.  Chris has recently received grants from the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the City of San Jose.  Chris has shown nationally including Rhode Island and San Diego, and extensively in the Bay Area including Queens Nails Projects, Southern Exposure, and SOMA Arts to name a few. Recent reviews of Chris’s work include the San Francisco Chronicle and the Guardian as well as The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and in the art magazine Art Ltd.

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, wall space gallery and Robert V. Fullerton Art Museum in Southern California, University Art Gallery at California State Chico, Minneapolis Photo Center, Visual Arts Center in Portsmouth, VA and Washington Square Art Galleries in New York City. 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 Victoria was awarded a grant from the Puffin Foundation.

Allison Leigh Holt: Artist

June 1 – June 30, 2017

Working at the intersection of sculpture, video, installation, and performance, Holt pursues a dialogue between divergent ways of experiencing, comprehending, and describing reality.

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.


Lasse Lau & Flo Maak
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 aims to introduce the project to new artists, activists, queer and other communities throughout the Bay Area to enrich their research and cross-disciplinary approach.

Mugwumpin (Theater & Performance Ensemble)
July 5 – August 31, 2016

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 Artist)
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 that 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.