Studio Lab Curatorial Residency

The Studio Lab Curatorial Residency is a program that provides curators and cultural workers with research, development, production, and exhibition space and resources. Studio Lab Curatorial Residencies are highly customizable, flexible, and inclusive.


March 7 – April 28, 2017

Rochelle Spencer: Curator & Writer

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 ReviewPoets and Writers, Eleven Eleven, the East Bay ReviewCallaloo, 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.


March 3 – March 25, 2017

Gipe + Tell: Collaborative Curator Duo

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.

Larry Gipe’s activist art project is currently featured on PBS online, HERE.



May 2 – June 1, 2017

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

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.

This program is made possible, in part, through the support of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).