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Continuing the Legacy of Artist Robert S. Duncanson

The Duncanson Artist-in-Residence Program was established in 1986 to honor the achievements of contemporary Black artists working in a breadth of artistic disciplines. The program honors the relationship between painter Robert S. Duncanson and his patron, Nicholas Longworth, who commissioned Duncanson to paint landscape murals in the foyer of his home, now the Taft Museum of Art. Each year, the selected artist works directly with the public and with area schools.


2021 Artist-in-Residence

Meet Asha Ama Bias-Daniels 

Asha Ama Bias-Daniels has been selected as the Taft's 34th annual Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, which will now take place each Spring. 

After graduating as a FISC (Fund for Independent Schools, Cincinnati) Scholar from St. Ursula Academy, she went on to study as a Cincinnatus Scholar at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in fashion design. Daniels was the first Cincinnati designer selected to compete in a show in the Project Runway franchise and was a finalist on Project Runway: Under the Gunn. She was also invited back to compete on the hit show Project Runway All Stars. As a couture designer, Daniels has created pieces for a diverse range of artists, from Zendaya to Little Big Town.As a Black woman, Daniels has often found herself misunderstood, stereotyped, and misidentified. She was able to navigate the fashion world and survive because she was raised with a great knowledge of self that she tries to impart to others through her designs. It is her core belief that she must pull others up while finding her way. Daniels has a heart for mentoring and education.

She founded the mentorship program Created to Create, in which she teaches fashion design to Black underprivileged teenage girls in Cincinnati. As a designer, Daniels has experience in men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, as well as lingerie, swimwear, embroidery, draping, knitting, and tailoring. Her work possesses a duality: soft, rhythmic draping against pieces with an armored feel—protection for Black women. She incorporates ornate detailing, print mixing, strong lines, and cut-outs that accentuate curves in the female form. Daniels is currently exploring a new collection with an emphasis on the meaning of the year 2020, focusing on the revealing truths of this year and the topic of Black identity.


Public Events

For two weeks in April 2021, Daniels will lead public programs, teach workshops, and visit schools across Greater Cincinnati. Stay tuned for more information.

The Duncanson Society

The Robert S. Duncanson Society was founded in 1986 by Doris Rankin Sells, William Joel McCray, and Ruth K. Meyer to affirm an ongoing Black presence within the structure of the Taft Museum of Art, including the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence program, and to celebrate Robert S. Duncanson’s artistic contributions.

Past Duncanson Artists-in-Residence

2019 | Ya'Ke Smith: filmmaker

2018 | Vanessa German: visual and performance artist

2017 | Stafford C. Berry Jr.: choreographer, dancer

2016 | Carla Cook: jazz vocalist

2015 | Alysia Nicole Harris, poet 

2014 | Laci Coppins: photographer

2013 | Diane Macklin: storyteller

2012 | Nikkole Salter: actor/playwright

2011 | Adrienne Danrich: soprano; John Blake Jr.: jazz violinist; Tracy Walker: singer-songwriter

2010 | Nokuthula Ngwenyama: violist

2009 | Brian Joiner: painter

2008 | Sandra Cardoso Muendane: fashion designer

2007 | Keith Josef Adkins: playwright

2006 | 20th Anniversary

2005 | Thom Shaw: printmaker

2004 | Melvin Grier: photographer

2003 | Annie Ruth: spoken word

2002 | William Menefield: jazz piano

2001 | La-Vaune Henry: soprano

2000 | Dayton Contemporary Dance Second Company

1999 | Charlotte Blake Alston: storyteller

1998 | Sharon M. Draper: author

1997 | John Blake, Jr.: jazz violinist

1996 | Dhana Bradley-Morton: actress

1995 | Frederick A. Wallace: conservator

1993 | Tarleton Blackwell: painter

1992 | Sebronette Barnes: soprano

1991 | William Greaves: documentary filmmaker

1990 | Michael Harper: poet

1989 | Tyrone Geter: painter

1988 | Kathy Wade: jazz vocalist

1987 | William de Valentine: opera singer

1986 | Nikki Giovanni: poet

Residence Sponsor

Programming Sponsors

Phyllis McCallum and Steve Jemison

Sara M. and Michelle Vance Waddell Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation


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