Photo: Tiana Williams. Courtesy 18th Street Arts Center.

Concurrent with Call to Dream: The Sam Francis Fellowship, 18th Street Arts Center will also collaborate with the Sam Francis Foundation to research our deep archive of oral histories around Sam Francis and his network of artistic influence in Santa Monica to add to our Culture Mapping 90404 project (, as well as create a series of oral history mini-documentaries unveiling new revelations about the art scene in Santa Monica and the larger region over the past 60 years. After a competitive process, Tiana Williams, a USC graduate student in Cinema and Media Studies who specializes in archives, oral histories, and documentary filmmaking, was selected as the Inaugural Sam Francis Media Fellow.

Tiana Williams is a filmmaker, researcher and activist archivist. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Cinema and Digital Media and African American Studies from UC Davis and is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California. As a McNair Scholar, she conducted an original oral history-based research project that investigated the prisoners’ rights movement of the 1970s by reviving and analyzing archival materials. This experience inspired her to become more engaged with activist praxis as she produced social justice centered documentaries, helped build a radio program that dealt with confronting America’s mass incarceration crisis, and worked with KALW Productions in teaching journalism and radio production to incarcerated men inside Solano State Prison. Her work overall leverages oral history methodologies, critical race theory and abolitionist praxes to combat the suppression of liberatory narratives within the archive.


Founded in 1988, 18th Street Arts Center is one of the top 20 artist residency programs in the US, and the largest in Southern California. Conceived as a radical think tank in the shape of an artist community, 18th Street supports artists from around the globe to imagine, research, and develop significant, meaningful new artworks and share them with the public. We strive to provide artists the space and time to take risks, to foster the ideal environment for artists and the public to directly engage, and to create experiences and partnerships that foster positive social change.

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