Educational Collaborations

Sam Francis in his Broadway studio, Santa Monica. Photo by Jerry Sohn. Courtesy of the Sam Francis Foundation.

In October 2020, 18th Street Art Center and the Sam Francis Foundation were thrilled to announce Call to Dream: The Sam Francis Fellowship, an ongoing artist residency exchange between Los Angeles and three other cities foundational to the artist Sam Francis’s development: Tokyo, Mexico City, and Paris. As an artist residency program based in Santa Monica for over 30 years, 18th Street Arts Center will organize the exchanges between Los Angeles-based artists and artists with partner residency programs in each of these three cities, with the goal of fostering cultural relationships between our cities and nurturing an international cohort of artists. 18th Street Arts Center and Sam Francis Foundation are thrilled to embark on this journey together, exploring cultural ambassadorship, and fostering a collaborative international artist network that will bring powerful artistic minds and research together to shift our paradigms around intractable global issues.

Sam Francis Foundation Director Debra Burchett-Lere describes how such international exchanges were foundational not only to Sam Francis’s artistic practice, but also influenced his view of the artist’s role in society:

“The importance of exploring new environs expanded Francis’s understanding of the world and directly affected his oeuvre by exposure to new artistic materials he discovered while painting in different studios around the world. Francis often wrote about the important role of the artist in society. How artists guide us to contemplate who we are, what we believe in, and how we got here. Traveling and working in new environments around the world enhances one’s ability to be in touch with our humanity and participate in a larger dialogue.”

Sam Francis, Round the World, Dated as 1958–59/60, acrylic and oil on canvas, 276.61 x 321.56 cm (108 7/8 x 126 5/8 in.). Collection: Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, Switzerland (90.2). Peter Schibli, Courtesy Fondation Beyeler. Artwork © Sam Francis Foundation, California/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

18th Street Arts Center Executive Director Jan Williamson expresses how fulfilling it is to be working with the Sam Francis Foundation on this initiative:

This residency exchange is incredibly forward thinking and inspiring in its goals to cultivate artists as ambassadors, and facilitate cultural exchange around the world. It takes an artist foundation like Sam Francis Foundation to really understand the value of cultural exchange through artists –  in bringing unity, building bigger world views, and creating deeper levels of understanding.”

The first residency exchange will kick off in 2022 with a focus on Paris, and the artist selection process will be conducted through a series of nominations, with a panel of experts making the final decision. 18th Street will be creating a close partnership with a compatible residency program in Paris to structure this exchange and provide a continuity of excellent support to the selected artist fellows. More information on the residency exchange and structure as it evolves can be found on

18th Street Arts Center will also collaborate with the Sam Francis Foundation to research their deep archive of oral histories around Sam Francis and his network of artistic influence in Santa Monica to add to their 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 Alexandria 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.


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.


Tiana Alexandria 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.

LA < > Mexico City Residency Exchange

Our first exchange with Mexico City and SOMA concluded with Jorge Gamboa (pictured middle) coming to 18 Street Art Center from April – June 2023, after Arshia Haq (pictured right) had been to SOMA from Sept – Nov 2022. Frida Cano (pictured left), our Director of Residency Programs established this program. Watch a conversation between the three of them on the experience.


Call to Dream: The Sam Francis Fellowship, Mexico City – A Conversation

LA < > Tokyo Residency Exchange

We have officially launched our second fellowship exchange in Tokyo with TOKAS (Tokyo Arts and Space). Michael Hayden was in residence from Sept to Nov 2023. While his counterpart from Tokyo, Haruka Yamada will be coming to 18SAC from April – June 2024.


Additionally, we were able to extend the reach of this exchange with to include two curators for 1 month residencies.  Kris Kuramitsu (left) from LA and Mihoko Nishikawa (right) from Tokyo are the finalists. The curators will be at 18SAC and TOKAS in Sept and October of 2024.


LA-based Kris Kuramitsu is a contemporary art curator and educator in Los Angeles. She is Senior Curator at Large at The Mistake Room, where she has organized exhibitions and programs such as Matsumi Kanemitsu: Metamorphic Effects (2014); Cao Fei: Shadow Plays (2015); Carlos Amorales: A Film Trilogy (2015); Histories of a Vanishing Present: A Prologue (2016) (co-curator); A Tender Spot: Sky Hopinka and Karrabing Film Collective (2018); Susu Attar: Isthmus (2018); Gaëlle Choisne: Temple of Love ADORABLE (2019); and Where the Sea Remembers (2019) (co-curator).

As an independent curator, Kuramitsu has organized exhibitions for institutions such as LAXART, Los Angeles; Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, California; Instituto Cervantes, Madrid; Paramo, Guadalajara; and the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles in addition to managing private art collections.


In 2019, she launched the Candlewood Arts Festival—an ongoing temporary public art exhibition project for the Under the Sun Foundation in the Anza Borrego Desert, with its next iteration scheduled for March 2024. Most recently, she curated Voice a Wild Dream: Moments in Asian American Art and Activism, 1968-2022 at OxyArts, Los Angeles, and taught a parallel class in the Art & Art History department at Occidental College.


Tokyo based Mihoko Nishikawa is a Curator at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT). Her interest is in immaterial forms of expression such as performance, conceptual art, and video art from the 1960s. She has worked with artists, who critically engage with museums and social systems, such as MOT Annual 2012: Making Situations and Editing Landscapes and MOT Annual 2022: My justice might be someone elses pain.


Nishikawa has organized a retrospective exhibition of Ay-O, a Japanese Fluxus artist, Ay-O: Over the Rainbow Once More; followed by a Fluxus concert in 2014. Recently she co-curated the Fluxus artist’s exhibition, Viva Video!: The Art and Life of Shigeko Kubota (2022). She is also involved in collections and restoration projects of video and time-based works.

LA < > Paris Residency Exchange


More information coming soon!