The Sanctuaries | Washington, DC


Visionary Responders

Visionary Responders



Over the course of eleven months, the artists involved in the Visionary Responders Artist-in-Residence Program have advanced The Sanctuaries' multicultural organizing framework in the DMV area and beyond through rapid response art projects.

We understand multicultural organizing as the strategic use of arts and culture within and across communities of difference to shift policy, build culture, and heal spirits for the wellness of the people.

We describe rapid response art projects as those opportunities that invite us to listen, respect, and willingly co-create the process of utilizing artistic tools to make social issues visible in a way that everyone can (i) understand, (ii) acknowledge, and (iii) impact social change.

The framework for the Artist-in-Residence process was achieved through (i) artistic sessions, (ii) artistic studios, and (iii) the completion of an artistic project.

We are excited to share our Visionary Responders with you.


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Ashley Dequilla

My name is Ashley Dequilla and I am a painter inspired by my Filipino heritage, music, psychology and nature. Under Ahmane's guidance and through the Visionary Responders I was able to create a painting workshop called Healing the Body, which uses intention setting, meditation, and rejects the standard gendered gaze that we are taught in academic art. My workshop has been well-received so far but I am very much open to making adjustments based on the needs of the communities I work with. During this residency, I have learned the importance of being present and how meaningful it is to set intentions before our actions. I hope to continue serving my Sanctuaries community with my presence, making myself available in any way that I am needed.

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Fae Penland
Watercolor, Drawing, Oil, Mixed Medium, Collage

Peace, human endeavor, awe of the Divine, the character and spirit of the creator — this is a continual inspiration for me as a visual artist.  As an Artist-in-Residence with The Sanctuaries, I was honored to collaborate with a literary artist. We completed a Graphic Poetry class for the young men from Life Pieces to Masterpieces (LPTM).  It was an honor to host this workshop for LPTM because this organization provides a rich creative learning space for boys from DC. The residency program has taught me that I am committed to challenging stereotypes, biases, and norms with creativity.

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Latisha Jones
Literary Artist

I am inspired by stories and community connections. As a Visionary Responder, I, along with Fae Penland, co-facilitated a Graphic Poetry Workshop for 8 boys in partnership with Life Pieces to Masterpieces, an organization that encourages creativity, self-reliance, and emotional intelligence in African-American boys and young men. The purpose of this workshop was to emphasize how poetry and visual art can be used as an outlet for personal storytelling. Through this workshop, I learned that positive, informed facilitation cannot be done alone, and as a Sanctuaries artist, I plan to continue developing relationships so that I can truly serve the community in a way that is intentional, meaningful, and well-organized.

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Laura Saunders
Documentary Artist

I am inspired by ways people devote themselves to the things, and people, and places they love. As an Artist-in-Residence with Sanctuaries, I was given the opportunity to work with Critical Exposure DC to present a 2-day workshop on consent and collaborative storytelling in photography. The purpose of this community offering was to help celebrate participants’ home communities and address systems of power and consent in order to help empower youth in the understanding/telling of their own stories. My time during the residency has helped me to learn the value of deliberate, patient artistry that works at the pace and in service of the communities it engages. I look forward to supporting The Sanctuaries community through continuing to build relationships and opportunities that foster community-led storytelling projects rooted in respect and trust.

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