Mason Artist-in-Residence Program

Each year, several artists and ensembles are chosen for their distinctive and innovative artistic voices and invited to make Mason their home for a residency in partnership with its performing arts centers.

Launched during the 2019-2020 season, the Mason Artist-in-Residence program connects artists appearing at the Center for the Arts and the Hylton Performing Arts Center with on and off-campus communities. Each  Artist-in-Residence participates in a variety of activities created to engage and inspire the diverse audiences served by the College of Visual and Performing Arts. These residencies are designed to foster meaningful exchanges between our communities and the Artists-in-Residence, creating opportunities for transformational experiences to happen. 

“One of the most formidable, if not most important, obstacle to creating new performance works at this time is the time, space and know how necessary to put an idea up on its feet and find an audience for it. I was exhilarated to participate in Mason’s Artist-in-Residence program as it succeeded in … offering a way to the future of new performance!” 

Bill T. Jones 

We are proud to welcome these artists into Mason’s first-class venues on the campuses of a Tier 1 Research University. These residencies transform our stages, studios, and labs into a creative classroom where artistic and intellectual exploration is developed and nurtured. Each season, the performing arts centers partner with today’s leading artistic voices to craft residencies that empower their creative development and deepen connections between artists and the Mason community. These experiences include everything from technical residencies and new work development to experiential workshops and technology research.  

Previous Seasons


During the 2021/2022 season, the Center for the Arts hosted five Mason Artists-in-Residence for a variety of research and engagement activities around the artists’ performances.

  • Kaneza Schaal, visionary director and co-creator of CARTOGRAPHY, continued to work with Mason’s Game Design Program and Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI) to develop technology for a new augmented reality performance piece.
  • Sphinx Virtuosi, the dynamic self-conducting chamber orchestra of top Black and Latinx musicians, led educational and artistic activities across Northern Virginia: Mason students benefited from select classroom visits and masterclasses in Strings and Symphony Orchestra, and local elementary and high schools were treated to virtual and in-person arts demonstrations and performances. Continuing CVPA’s work in the digital sphere, Sphinx Virtuosi also conducted Zoom lecture-demonstrations with Mason Alumni and Northern Virginia Community College students. 
  • Throughout the season, Camille A. Brown & Dancers company members hosted a variety of activities: Founder and choreographer Camille A. Brown held an online Q&A session for the Mason School of Dance community, dancers from Mason’s School of Dance and Fairfax Academy participated in a masterclasses, and the residency organized Mason-wide dance workshops for well-being through Every Body Move.
  • The company of SW!NG OUT engaged with local swing dance groups, area students, Hylton Performing Arts Center’s Veterans and the Arts Initiative, and community members to share the history of swing and Lindy Hop—and get dancing too!
  • GRAMMY winning composer Maria Schneider led a powerful series of events across Mason’s Fairfax and Arlington campuses with students, faculty, staff, and community members, including a public event held in partnership with Mason’s Center for Intellectual Property x Innovation Policy (C-IP2) and Arts Management Program.

The Hylton Performing Arts Center welcomed Artist-in-Residence Ballet Hispánico, bringing communities together to celebrate and explore Latinx cultures. The multi-day residency included in-person and virtual activities with Northern Virginia dancers and community members at the Hylton Center and in area schools.


The 2020-2021 season of Mason Artists-in-Residence combined in-person residencies with virtual ones to continue to serve the artists as well as the Mason and Greater Washington communities throughout the pandemic. The season’s first artist was Grammy® Award-winning Third Coast Percussion who conducted a virtual residency full of masterclasses, discussions, virtual field trips with local middle schools, and lecture-performances. Theater artist Kaneza Schaal began a research residency leading up to the Center for the Arts performance of CARTOGRAPHY in the 2021-2022 season. This residency works closely with Mason’s Game Design Program and Virginia Serious Games Institute to develop augmented reality tools to be used in future performance projects. D.C.-based Step Afrika!, the world’s first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping, completed a residency to rehearse and record a new dance film from the Hylton Performing Arts Center as well as conducting virtual field trips as part of its education outreach.

Learn More About the 2020-2021 Season


The inaugural year of residencies in 2019-2020 featured “Latin Alternative” powerhouse quartet  LADAMA  for five jam-packed days in October 2019 working with more than 1,450 community participants, and a week-long technical residency with world-renowned dance company Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in January 2020 for their world premiere of What Problem? featuring nearly 30 community members.