Queer & Trans Artists of Color Leadership Residency



SAFEhouse is re-launching AIRspace as a hybrid fellowship/residency, actively seeking to invest in queer artists of color in areas of equity and arts leadership. The current members of the SAFEHouse cooperative have recognized that, while the programs has been open to all, the primary demographic of participants has been white or white-presenting artists and the few artists of color have reported a sense of isolation. In the year 2017, it is not enough to say these programs are open to everyone and wonder why there are few folks of color participating in the organization. To that end, SAFEHouse is redesigning AIRspace to place Queer and Trans artists of color in leadership positions and is looking for artist interested in shaping the program.



SAFEHouse is a cooperative dance and performing arts organization that provides residencies and paid opportunities to gain arts administration experience. As a cooperative, SAFEHouse artists play an integral role in running the organization. 7-10 lead artists with a 1-year commitment, make up the management team and a rotating roster of 3-month resident artists ALL contribute to the operation and management in exchange for free rehearsal time, performance space, and performance profit-sharing.


AIRspace was founded in1987 at the Jon Sims Center for the Arts, which was dedicated to supporting queer and trans artists of color and people living with HIV/AIDS. In 2007, after the close of the Sims Center, the program was transferred to SAFEHouse and operated as a no frills residency for queer artists. In 2015, the program was put on hiatus for 2 years, while SAFEhouse shifted to a cooperative organizational model and secured a new facility in the Tenderloin’s newly created Transgender Cultural District.


Program Description

The AIRspace Queer Arts Leadership Residency is a 12-month paid residency for QTPOC performing artists at SAFEHouse Arts, a traditionally dance-centered performing arts cooperative program based in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. The hybrid fellowship/residency combines arts and equity leadership training and administrative experience with rehearsal space and performance opportunities to experiment, test, and produce work. The intention of this residency is to cultivate and empower queer & trans artists of color to grow professionally and creatively while developing a sense of ownership over the organization of SAFEhouse.



Must self-identify as a queer or trans person of color with a history of performance. 
Must commit to actively engaging with the fellowship and organization for the full 12-months, including monthly meetings.


Drag queens. Urban & Club dancers. Ballet Dancers. Theater geeks. Storytellers. Spoken word poets. Hip hop artists. Choreographers!!!
We are not interested in limiting the possibilities of this residency for QTPOC performing artists, but SAFEHouse is rooted in dance. Other types of performing artists should consider the potential impacts on their work and the benefits or disadvantages of making working within a dance community. That being said, a strong artistic vision and the desire to realize work and participate in a cooperative arts organization are the top priorities.


The AIRSPACE residency is a one-year program that rotates fellows quarterly through 3 areas critical to the organization. This is an opportunity to contribute their perspective and gain insight and knowledge into decision making at administrative, programming, and board and meetings. 

Fellows will spend 3 months in each of the following positions:
Board Fellow- contributes to board level decision making and governance as a voting member. (monthly meeting)
Management Fellow- contributes operations and management decisions with lead artists (monthly meeting)
Curation/Programming Fellow- curator & programming lead for one work-in-progress showcase, community activation, a social art activity & blog post. (meetings may vary)

Fellows are expected to provide:

10~15hrs/month participation commitment. (This includes individual fellow responsibilities AND participation in the SAFEHouse cooperative structure.) Including:
Monthly meetings
Quarterly Community Days
Work Groups (as needed) 
Constructive feedback on fellow related meetings and duties capturing their observations, questions & insights. 

Fellows will be collectively responsible for producing a minimum of:

3 work in progress showcases, 
3 community activations 
3 social art activities 
and a collective Critical Feedback Report based on the collation of the Constructive Feedback with the support of the Program Director and Coordinator.

Fellows Receive: 

4-6 hours of rehearsal space per week
Co-working and meeting space 
Keys - 24 hour access
Monthly Coaching/Creative Planning Sessions
Quarterly Professional Development Workshops
Publicity and technical support
3 AIRspace performance showcases.
Connection to 2 festival opportunities (National Queer Arts Festival & SAFEHouse Performance Fest)
$200 monthly stipend (In the pursuit of equity othered bodies are often called on to provide invisible emotional, mental, or cultural competency labor that often goes unrecognized.) 
The biggest thing that fellows will receive is the opportunity to have a creative home for a year. A place to dream big test ideas, start a teaching practice or just hang out and connect and play in the studio. Participants can work collaboratively or solo and can include storytelling, spoken word, movement, and theater. 

The residency will culminate in a Performance Showcase/Graduation. 


Key Dates

Applications open: September 5th

Applications close: October 4th

Notification: Last week of October/1st week of November

Start Date: November 17, 2017 (hold this date in your calendar) End Date: November 10th 2018