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Roman J. Witt Artist Residency Awarded to Performance Artist Stacey L. Kirby

Performance Artist Stacey L. Kirby has been selected as the 2024 – 2025 Witt Artist in Residence for the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan. Kirby, known for her creative work on The Bureau of Personal Belonging, will engage in performative interactions within art installations that prompt discussions on identity, community, civil rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, and immigration in the U.S.

Photo of work by Stacey L. Kirby; Photo Credit: Alex Maness
Photo Credit: Alex Maness

The Roman J. Witt Residency Program, developed with the support of alumna Penny W. Stamps and named in honor of her father, is an annual international competition. Each academic year, one residency is awarded to a visiting artist/​designer who will develop a new work in collaboration with the Stamps School and University of Michigan community. The mission of the program is to support the production of this new work, and to make the creative process visible through its development, from concept to completion. The 2024 – 2025 Witt Residency is organized in partnership with the Stamps Gallery, a public center for contemporary art and design in downtown Ann Arbor.

During her residency, Kirby will collaborate with the campus community to create a site-specific installation and performance as a new iteration of The Bureau of Personal Belonging at the Stamps Gallery. According to Kirby, this unique iteration will be tailored to the university’s location and informed by discussions with the campus community about civic discourse. 

The Bureau utilizes bureaucratic forms, postures, and language in vintage office environments to engage participants and community performers in exploring questions of civil authority. With a history spanning two decades, including over 200 performances, involving 300 community performers, and engaging 10,000 participants, Kirby’s work employs humor and satire to foster an on-going dialogue about identity, community, and human rights. The timing of the residency, following the 2024 U.S. Presidential Election, will provide a significant opportunity for communication around civic engagement and the transformative power of art. The residency at U‑M will offer numerous opportunities for collaboration across art and design, humanities, and potentially new technologies, reflecting current cultural, societal, and political issues through Kirby’s innovative approach to art and civic engagement.

Kirby previously brought The Bureau of Personal Belonging to Grand Rapids, MI, for ArtPrize 8 in 2016, where the project received the top juror’s award. Kirby is a recipient of numerous other awards including a NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship for Visual Artists and was nominated for the United States Artist Award, Anonymous Was A Woman Award and was a finalist for the 1858 Prize. Kirby has also been awarded artist residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA), Barton College (NC), the Atlantic Center for the Arts (New Smyrna Beach, FL) the Gibbes Museum of Art (Charleston, SC), and at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Her work is represented in the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University Rare Book Collection, and other private collections. Kirby has a dual degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Studio Art, Journalism, and Mass Communication. Kirby serves her community on the Nasher Museum of Art’s Friends Board at Duke University and as a member of the Scrap Exchange Board of Directors.