Artist in Residence

Every year we offer a residency to an artist who creates work that illuminates the cathedral’s annual theme, amplifying the cathedral’s vision, mission and goals. We have an Artist in Residence program because we believe in the power of art to inspire people and we want to make art accessible to everyone.


Announcing our 2017 Artist in Residence: Sarah Kay

Grace Cathedral’s Artist in Residence program welcomes its first poet this year. Sarah Kay, renowned for her spoken word poetry and a top-selling author and international performer, will present and enlighten at a range of exciting cathedral events. 

Sarah has shared her poetry in venues and classrooms around the world. She is perhaps best known for her talk at the 2011 TED conference that has been viewed over ten million times. Sarah holds a Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching from Brown University, and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Grinnell College. Her first book, “B” was ranked #1 Poetry Book on Amazon. “No Matter the Wreckage,” is also an Amazon Bestseller in American Poetry. Other poems and articles have been published in CURA Magazine, The Writer Magazine, Thrush, Treehouse Magazine, Union Station Magazine, the Huffington Post, and many more. She has performed for the Tribeca Film Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors and the United Nations. 

Sarah comes to contemplate the “Year of the Gift.” She is the founder and co-director of Project VOICE, an organization dedicated to promoting empowerment, improving literacy and encouraging empathy and creative collaboration in classrooms and communities around the world through award-winning performances and innovative workshops. Sarah hails from New York City and has been performing her spoken word poetry since she was 14 years old. 

Calendar of Events

All events are free and open to the public. During her residency, Sarah will also be holding workshops and performances at the Cathedral School for Boys and learning programs across the city; these events are not open to the public.

The Vine
Wednesday, October 11 at 6:30 pm
At our contemporary worship service, we will celebrate creativity with poetic liturgy and a sermon by Sarah. 

Exalted Verse: Litquake at Grace Cathedral
Friday, October 13 at 7:30 pm
A sterling lineup of poets will read from their work. Hear Sarah Kay and Jason Bayani, William Brewer, Victor Hernández Cruz, Tongo Eisen-Martin, San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck and Jen Siraganian. 

The Forum
Sunday, October 15 at 9:30 am
Sarah shares her story and her passion for inspiring children to find their voice. 

Choral Eucharist
Sunday, October 15 at 11 am
Sarah preaches at our service in grand cathedral style, with rich musical offerings by the Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys and our famous organ.

Yoga on the Labyrinth
Tuesday, October 17 at 6:15 pm
Sarah gives a short reflection at our weekly yoga class.

Sarah Kay in Performance
Tuesday, October 17 at 7:30 pm
Sarah performs her spoken word poetry in a 60-minute solo set.

Choral Evensong and Artist Reception
Thursday, October 19 at 5:15 pm
Sarah gives a homily as we celebrate her residency at this beautiful service of prayer and song. A reception with the artist follows.

The Forum with Jack Boulware
Sunday, October 22 at 9:30 am
Sarah joins Jack Boulware, founder of Litquake, to share how you can nurture creativity and bring out your inner poet.



Past Artists in Residence

In 2016, the “Year of Home,” artists Benjamin Bergery and Jim Campbell created two light installations are our 2016 Artists in Residence.

Jacob’s Dream: A Luminous Path, an installation of light and moving images currently hanging in the cathedral, was designed to evoke a pathway between earth and heaven, between the visible and invisible. They also premiered Miracle Fragments a two-night-only light and sound event evoking different Biblical miracles.

Bergery, a media artist and cinematographer, and Campbell, a light artist whose work is in the collections of both the New York and San Francisco Museums of Modern Art, have previously collaborated on critically-acclaimed projects.


In 2015, the Year of Technology,  artists Elaine Buckholtz and Floor van de Velde of Nighthouse Studio were invited to be Grace Cathedral’s 2015 Artists in Residence.

Buckholtz and van de Velde explore the medium of light and sound as ephemeral phenomena with the potential to unmask hidden aspects of architectural forms and to activate space. As the Artists in Residence, they premiered their work, Fields of Prayer, an integrative, immersive light and sound installation. They presented several live performances, and several exterior presentations of the installation.

Learn more about Elaine Buckholtz and Floor van de Velde.

Bryant AIR Banner updated

In 2014, the Year of Sustainability, Oakland-based eco-chef, food justice activist and author Bryant Terry educated the community about how a more just, healthier food system supports healthy communities. He also delighted us with vegetarian menus and presentations as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations. Learn more about Bryant Terry.


In 2013, the Year of Music, New York visual artist Anne Patterson produced multi-sensory evenings of visual art and music, collaborating with renowned cellist Joshua Roman and composer and conductor Paul Haas, and created a stunning, music-inspired aerial installation with 20 miles of ribbon, titled Graced with Light. View a film about Graced with Light by Three Bridges West, and learn more about Anne Patterson.


In 2012, the theme was Grace. Actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith became the cathedral’s first Artist in Residence. The premiere of her work in progress, “On Grace,” with accompaniment by cellist Joshua Roman, was presented over two nights in sold out performances.

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