Black Artists Space to Create

The Summer/Fall 2020 Black Artists Space to Create Residency selected artists are Johnnie Cruise Mercer, Leslie Cuyjet, and Angie Pittman

About the Residency

The Black Artists Space to Create Residency is a pilot project offering three Black artists a residency at Modern Accord Depot in Accord, NY. The recipients are Johnnie Cruise Mercer, Leslie Cuyjet, and Angie Pittman. Each will receive a two- week residency with unlimited access to a dance studio and full living space. Residency schedules will be determined by the individual needs of the artists, who will also receive a stipend of $2,000. New Dance Alliance (NDA) is offering this space for resting, dancing, creating, healing, grieving, laughing, and breathing. There is no expectation of production and artists will not have to present new work at the end of this residency. The artists were selected by a core team consisting of NDA staff and board members.

The residency project was created in response to current movements within the dance community and the movements they are building upon. As an artist services organization and presenter, NDA has been guided by the core question: What does it mean to center and support Black artists in this field? NDA understands the stark reality that Black people are currently navigating not one, but two pandemics: one is new, and one is 400 years old. Covid-19 and racism are both disproportionately affecting Black life. In light of this, “we wish to radically reimagine what it means to serve Black artists right now and to do so in the specific spirit of reparations,” says NDA Board President Fernando Maneca. “We call in abundance as we reimagine modes of leadership and hand over the keys to Black artists as a way to confront the scarcity mindset currently afflicting non-profit organizations.

Announcing our Residency Director, Angie Pittman

NDA is also excited to announce that Angie Pittman has been hired as Residency Director. An NDA advisory board member since 2018, Pittman helped conceive of the residency project and will lead it into future iterations.

While we are honored to offer this residency program, we understand that the ideas around it are not new and not ours,” says Pittman. “As a Black artist working with a white-led organization, I want to make sure we credit the countless Black, femme scholars and activists who have called for the equitable payment of Black folks. I also want to call attention to how Black artists have historically shaped our nation’s imagination, language, and humanity so we want to use this residency as a way to value and amplify that tremendous work.


This pilot project was made possible by a generous contribution from an anonymous donor.