Residencies

The MAH offers a unique research-based residency program in which artists, activists, scholars, and other practitioners draw from history to interpret contemporary themes.

Knowing our history is vital to moving forward. Together, contemporary art, heritage, and cultural expression have the capacity to help us better understand our current moment by creating experiential portals that connect the past, present, and future.

To do this, practitioners need access to research, materials, time, space, and financial support. The MAH’s residency program empowers interdisciplinary thinkers and makers—visual artists, writers, historians, ethnographers, folklorists, cultural anthropologists, and more—to pursue current or new projects of their design during a three- to six-month residency.

During their time with the museum, residents can make full use of the MAH’s resources and exhibition platforms—whether indoors, outdoors, or online—with opportunities to share out, prototype, and solicit feedback. Our aim is to support a research-based process via a residency that contributes to the development of a concept or body of work connecting local history to broader themes of contemporary significance.

The program is currently invitation only. To learn more or express your interest in consideration for future residency opportunities, please contact Marla Novo at marla@santacruzmah.org.

MCXT 01

Artists-in-Residence

MCXT (Monica Canilao and Xara Thustra)
MCXT is a creative partnership between Monica Canilao and Xara Thustra. A collaborative effort birthed out of a joint wish to communicate care and empowerment within public spaces. Together they share a deep need to make a bright, vibrant world using the tools of art and activism.

Monica and Xara are delving into the MAH’s archives and connecting with local artists and historians to illuminate the stories behind the early Venetian Water Carnivals, an annual event held along the San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz from 1895 to 1927. Their work will be featured later in the year at our inaugural CommonGround festival and an exhibition in the Art Forum Gallery.

Luna High John Bey2

Historian-in-Residence

Luna HighJohn-Bey
Luna HighJohn-Bey is a founder and director of the Santa Cruz Equity project, a nonprofit devoted to the holistic support of Black residents in Santa Cruz County. Combining her passion for equity and community, she seeks to create sacred spaces for our most impacted communities.

Luna serves as lead researcher for the London Nelson Legacy Initiative, which explores the life of London Nelson (1800–1860), an early Black pioneer of Santa Cruz. Her work will help to reframe, broaden, and contextualize Nelson’s life and inform a future exhibition on the subject at the MAH.

Photo: Devi Pride Photography

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