Artist residencies reflect our commitment to ongoing creative development, offering performing artists space, mentorship, and community to create and present works. Residencies are structured to:

For 25 years, CFPA has hosted numerous residencies.
Current opportunities are managed and produced by the Performance Collective.

New Works Residency
Begin a new project or process.

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2021 Residency TBA

Works in Process Residency
Grow a project already in development.

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2021 Residency TBA

Custom Residency
Creating in a different way?

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Big Picture

Our residencies encourage artists to experiment, take radical risks, and fail forward, with mentor and community input.  We approach each resident with profound openness, supporting them with rigor and without agenda. We believe audience is essential to the making and meaning of performed works.

Residencies are offered annually to Twin Cities performance-based artists working in theater, dance, visual art, music, film, performative installation, and new media. Residencies support intense development by providing:

  • rehearsal space
  • mentorship with a project-/artist-specific professional
  • a culminating public presentation

The selection process is competitive and driven by the artist’s proposal, its achievability, work sample quality, and project synergy with the Performance Collective’s goals. Artists at all career stages are encouraged to participate.

The Particulars


Each resident is connected with a working professional who aligns with their proposal in a way that directly advances their process. A mentor engages feedback and consults on shaping an excerpt for a public presentation. Twice per residency—once in the first few weeks, and later near completion—residents, mentors, and Performance Collective staff assemble to discuss the project’s development. Mentors also facilitate public conversations after presentations (see below). Each mentor is paid a modest stipend.

Past Mentors: Colleen Callahan-Russell, Brian J. Evans, Essma Imady, Eleanor Savage, Aby Wolf, Kira Obolensky, April Sellers, Jessica Lopez Lyman, Maureen Koelsch, Ruth MacKenzie


A significant challenge for artists developing work is access to space. Residents are provided up to four free hours of rehearsal space each week, over the course of roughly two months, in the Sunroom or Chapel as available.


Residents publicly reflect on their process via blog posts. Reflections can take the form of video, text, image, research presentations—whichever media best illuminates their process and invites conversation.


The Performance Collective hosts two casual public presentations of each resident’s project. Presentations center on advancing the resident’s work, and are intended to create a rich dialogue between residents, mentors, and audiences. We strive to support a meaningful exchange about each project’s presentation and process.


Audiences are invited to respond to resident-posed questions following public presentations, facilitated by their mentor. This is an opportunity for the artist to practice deep listening, while the mentor serves as proxy and champion for the project. Audience is essential to the make and meaning of a performance work, and this conversation allows residents to orient themselves to audience in a new way.


Residencies are designed to allow the artist to integrate input from mentors, Performance Collective staff, and audiences, throughout the residency period. The two public presentations are separated by one week, during which artists are encouraged to further develop their project, based on what they learn in that first presentation.

Resident Artists

José A. Luis will continue work on Lunas, the third part of a series of dance works called, Chasing Moons. Lunas investigates the act of remembering purposefully, the weight of memory, the embodiment of text, and the paradoxes that emerge from the question: Can our re-creation of memories manifest an untrue version of ourselves?

2020 Works-in-Process Resident  /  Mentor: Nora Montañez

Megan Mayer will further develop her work, (FW) Redux, an evening-length dancework that explores some questions: Are middle-aged bodies and voices still relevant in the often ageist field of performance? What does a woman directing three men get to say about toxic masculinity? What critique and vulnerability can men who don’t subscribe to this toxicity offer about this subject? Can constructing 1980s nostalgia and loathing of that same nostalgia simultaneously be a place to begin dismantling some of these themes?

2020 Works-in-Process Resident  /  Mentor: Michael Kleber-Diggs

Margaret Ogas is working iteratively as she pursues connection and relationship with audience-witnesses in her solo performances. She is experimenting with humor and sarcasm to navigate her experience as a young, mixed-race Chicana woman, through movement, sound and text. Her work is built through investigations of sound, including recordings of her grandmother telling stories, pop culture references, vocal percussion, poetry, and academic text.

2020 Works-in-Process Resident  /  Mentor: Cindy García

Kerry Parker and her collaborators built a site/season-specific dance that is a death ritual, exploring senescence and seasonal darkness as part of a personal cosmology. Kerry investigated the relationship between site, ritual, history, and movement in CFPA’s chapel over two years. This piece deeply revisits the history of the building, investing in the influences of winter.

2019 New Works Resident  /  Process Reflection  /  Mentor: Ruth MacKenzie

Morgan Holmes began creating a solo performance, 10 Hours of Rain Sounds, using YouTube – its beauty tutorials, repetitive endurance videos, music, and self-care influencers – to explore grief, healing and re-establishing an everyday routine in the wake of trauma. She experimented with livestreaming her rehearsal process and with YouTube genres such as “get ready with me.” The piece is an extension of her work as co-producer of Perspectives Theater Company, which creates space for marginalized stories, especially valuing a reclamation of Queer and BIPOC bodies from “performing” pain.

2019 New Works Resident  /  Mentor: Jessica Lopez Lyman

David Means built the composition Forward Observer with musician Tom Kanthak, centered around an infantry outpost in Vietnam and surgical hospital in Italy. “Two soldiers share a journey back to places of beauty and grace beset by war and trauma. One is a chief’s son, surgical assistant, and musician. The other is a radioman, architect, and storyteller. One serves in an Italian surgical hospital. The other in an obscure outpost in Vietnam. Together they weave a reminiscence of freedom and recovery amidst a tangle of destruction, injury and violence.”

2019 New Works Resident  /  Process Reflection  /  Mentor: Maureen Koelsch

Nora Montañez developed Sabor a Mi, a bilingual autobiographical survival story, first built in 2017 as part of the Anything But English series (Pangea World Theater/Patrick’s Cabaret), and subsequently developed through Catalyst Arts PUSH Lab. In 2018, she used a McKnight/MRAC Next Step grant to travel to Peru for research. Nora integrated her travel research (and lessons on the cajón) into the structure of an interactive, bilingual, multi-media storytelling experience, laying bare the human question: Where do I belong?

2019 Works-in-Process Resident  /  Process Reflection  /  Mentor: Jessica Lopez Lyman

Beth Ann Powers built a solo durational/endurance performance piece, originally devised as part of a larger collaborative piece (Superhero) that performed last year at the Southern. In this piece, Beth excavated her personal relationship with mental illness and recovery, and investigated how durational/endurance performance can create space for an audience to find themselves in a piece, in ways that are both intimate and offer the audience agency/aegis.

2019 Works-in-Process Resident  /  Process Reflection  /  Mentor: Kira Obolensky

Alexandra Bodnarchuk continued work on her dance piece The Nature of Cloth, developed this past fall through the Generating Room: Open Proposal Initiative at the Cowles Center. In that residency, Alexandra gathered data about the human experience of “shame” and “conformity” through a series of focus-group workshops. With this residency, she dug deeper into innate animalistic behaviors and investigated ways to interrogate a range of different cultural narratives of shame and conformity, in pursuit of building space for diverse audiences to experience themselves reflected in the work.

2019 Works-in-Process Resident  /  Process Reflection  /  Mentor: April Sellers

Nelle June Anderson‘s project focused on the intersection of her rigorous opera training and her art-pop heart. She sought “a place where these old and new styles can play and breathe together, overcoming differences of genre and origin to make a new, cohesive sound…What is the difference between being an interpreter of a work and a generator of a work?…What is necessary to make my art feel like it’s mine?”

2018 New Works Resident /  Process Reflection  /  Mentor: Aby Wolf

Margo Gray created A/part, “an interactive performance exploring the confusion and trauma of being uprooted from your family and culture of origin and compelled to conform to another way of life.” Building on her experience creating interactive storytelling events, “this piece is inspired by events in U.S. history such as American Indian boarding schools, the sundering of enslaved families and the recent implementation of ‘tender age’ shelters for detained immigrant and refugee children.”

2018 New Works Resident /  Process Reflection  /  Mentor: Essma Imady

Kat Purcell’s project took the English Medieval morality play, The Castle of Perseverance, as a jumping-off point to explore “the intersections and conflicts between my bodily, corporeal identity and the world around me…With the use of interactive sculpture, dance, sourced interviews and stories of perseverance, I invite the audience first to the field, then into battle, and finally to the place where Mankind is born and meets his death: inside the Castle of Perseverance.”

2018 New Works Resident /  Process Reflection  /  Mentor: Eleanor Savage

April Seller‘s project Patriot Erector explored gender through the notion of patriotism. “Americans have not been so divided over politics and social mores since the Civil War. Our political state has sharpened frustrations amongst neighbors, families, and strangers. As a contemporary choreographer, I have a responsibility to reflect aspects of our changing culture back to audiences. It’s my mission to present human stories and to ask the audience to question their relationship to the identities presented on stage.”

2018 Works-in-Process Resident /  Process Reflection

Ben Swenson-Klatt examined the relationship between masculinity and violence. “Masculinity walks to another store, purchases a gun with his privilege and his desire for power. And he will walk again into another school, another church, another office. And he will take innocent lives again. The kids will scream and shout until their voices are gone. But still the cycle will continue. This piece is my attempt at change. So come witness my body and together let us judge, debate, and question the reality of our country.”

2018 Works-in-Process Resident /  Process Reflection 1, Reflection 2

Emily Rose Duea explored identity after healing from trauma. “Know that after this performance or exploration or whatever you want to call it, there will be a community gathering and conversation. Know that you never need to out yourself as a survivor. Know that we can make mistakes and disagree and in that way we can heal. Love yourself and know you are not alone.”

2018 Works-in-Process Resident /  Process Reflection 1, Reflection 2

Grow With Us

The Campaign for Imaginative Action has begun! The Performance Collective is currently raising funds for equipment, and programming to create opportunities for art-based dialogue, engagement, and empathy. Learn more and give here: