The Sanctuaries | Washington, DC
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The Sanctuaries equips artists with skills in activism and organizing to make social impact in their communities.


Are you an artist who wants to fight for justice?

Our training program equips you with the skills to make art for social impact.

Start: February 5, 2018 | Finish: May 19, 2018
Location: Washington, DC

Over fifteen weeks, you’ll build deep friendships and collaborate with other artists of diverse backgrounds; learn about the history, techniques, and strategies of art-based activism and organizing; and gain valuable skills as an artist-in-residence with a grassroots justice campaign. You’ll also learn a lot about yourself as a person and how you can do this work in a spiritually grounded and emotionally resilient way.

Upon completion of the program, you’ll have the opportunity to earn money facilitating a future cohort of the program, leading workshops for other organizations and youth programs, and/or working on larger projects and campaigns.

NOTE: This program is open to artists of all artforms, e.g. performance, visual, literary, etc.

Are you a Muslim artist?

Check out our Muslim cohort if you'd like to exclusively work with other Muslim artists. Otherwise, keep reading... 

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Photo credits: Nando Álvarez and Dejah Greene

What you'll learn

This training program was created by and for artists, so we focus on the most important skills you need to make social impact with your art. We don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Our three core areas of practice are:



As artists, everything we create reflects who we are. By the end of the program, you’ll know why you care about justice; what sacred practices sustain you when things get hard; and how your identity shapes the way you do this work.



As artists, we have tools that others don’t. By the end of the program, you’ll be able to create high quality art with purpose and impact using a variety of art-based activism and organizing techniques to advance social change.



As artists, we can’t just talk, we have to take action. By the end of the program, you’ll have worked with other artists and activists to design, implement, and evaluate a large-scale project as an artist-in-residence with a grassroots justice campaign.


As a fellow in the program, you’ll receive:

  • Valuable, practical skills for using your art to make a social impact on the issues you care about;

  • Opportunities to collaborate with multidisciplinary artists to create new work for your portfolio;

  • Unparalleled experience as an artist-in-residence with a grassroots justice campaign;

  • Personal and professional support from fellow artists, facilitators, and elders;

  • Access to a professional art studio to rehearse or work large-scale, if you choose;

  • Group exhibit and performance attended by other leaders and funders across the city;

  • The invitation to own your gifts in this work with encouragement from esteemed practitioners.

As a graduate, you’ll have the opportunity to become a paid facilitator and/or trainer of art-based activism and organizing.


As a fellow in our training program, you’re expected to:

  • Actively participate in all Sessions, Studios, and Workshops (see schedule: pdf | jpg);

  • Complete your artist residency with excellence in the designated timeframe;

  • Stay involved in this work post-graduation as a facilitator, trainer, and/or practitioner.

This training program has an estimated value of $3500.

It is offered for FREE to you as a fellow.

Past artist-residencies have included:

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Program Start: February 5, 2018 | Program Finish: May 19, 2018

Many artists spend a lifetime learning how to do this work, so we have a lot to cover in fifteen weeks! The program has a simple yet rigorous structure, and we’re looking for artists who will make the most of every minute:

  • Sessions -- on Monday evenings (7-9pm), you’ll meet with your fellow artists for critical reflection  and creative engagement with the curriculum’s core areas of practice (see above: “What You’ll Learn”). During the last month of the program, you’ll use this time to design projects for your artist residency with a grassroots justice campaign.

  • Studios -- on an additional weekday evening, you’ll have open studio / rehearsal time to create solo and collaborative work in response to that week’s theme. During the last month of the program, you’ll use this time to implement projects for your artist residency with a grassroots justice campaign.

  • Workshops -- once a month on a Saturday, you’ll participate in an interactive day-long workshop with elders and experienced practitioners on the curriculum’s core areas of practice (see above: “What You’ll Learn”).

All gatherings will take place at our studio, 1135 Okie St NE, in Washington, DC.
Take a look at the full schedule: pdf | jpg.

Selection Criteria

We welcome applications from artists of all artforms (visual, performing, literary, etc.) and all ages. To be clear, we're looking for candidates who respect all voices, trust the process, and commit to learning together from each other, no matter their artform or age.

Applicants will be evaluated based on:

  • Clarity of commitment to using art for social impact;

  • Merit of past artistic work;

  • Ability and willingness to work collaboratively;

  • Rootedness in a community to which you're accountable;

  • Readiness / resilience to make the most of this program.

Selection Process

The selection process is simple and straightforward:

  • Fill out the online application below. Applications will be accepted until December 15th;

  • An esteemed panel of practitioners (our Assessors, listed below) will select finalists from the online applications;

  • Finalists will be invited for an in-person interview with the Assessors in mid-January.

Important: We encourage applications from emerging and established artists alike. We value education and experience in their many forms, including self-taught artists and artists who share their work outside of galleries, journals, and professional performance venues.

Meet our Assessors
More info here.


Luci Murphy
Vocalist, Organizer, Facilitator


Dwayne B!
Poet, Activist, Breakdancer


Rose Jaffe
Visual Artist, Activist, Teacher


Manissa Maharawal, PhD.
Poet, Activist, Professor


We received a large number of incredibly strong applications, which we're now reviewing!