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Celebrating 175 Years of Duncanson

Established in 1986 by the Taft Museum of Art and the Robert S. Duncanson Society, the award-winning Duncanson Program honors the achievements of contemporary Black artists working in a variety of disciplines—year-round. The program honors the relationship between Black American painter Robert S. Duncanson and his patron, Nicholas Longworth, who commissioned Duncanson to paint landscape murals in the foyer of his home circa 1850-52, now the Taft Museum of Art. 

Robert S. Duncanson’s art was appreciated in his day, but today, his reputation is expanding rapidly and returning to the forefront as an important contributor to the American art history canon. Discover how you can celebrate the murals’ upcoming 175th anniversary:


Over the years, many nationally and internationally acclaimed artists spanning an array of disciplines have been selected for the Duncanson Artist-in-Residence. This includes visual and performance artist Vanessa German, choreographer Stafford Berry, and the esteemed poet Nikki Giovanni (the inaugural Duncanson Artist-in-Residence in 1986).  

Stay tuned for the 2025 call for artists! 

Pop-Up Event Series

Across the city, the Taft is helping to grow the collection of Black art experiences, serving as an educational resource for Black art, and expanding public engagement with Black artists’ diverse histories, interests, and practices.  

Additional details to be announced. 

Empowering Art Entrepreneurs

Working closely with community collaborators and industry experts, entrepreneurial programs are designed to assist Black creatives of diverse disciplines to cultivate their business skills and help them to thrive in the marketplace.  

Black Art Business Luncheon

Saturday, August 24

11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Join us for a less-traditional approach to sparking dialogue and fostering the exchange of ideas about how to make a non-traditional living as a Black artist. Enjoy complimentary light bites and listen to four local Black entrepreneurs Annie Ruth, Cedric Michal Cox, Anissa Lewis, and Kareem Simpson as they relay short, unscripted, unmoderated two-person conversations about how they make a living in the world of art. 


This is a FREE event! Registration is required. Admission to the museum is sold separately.

Questions? Contact

The Duncanson Society

The Robert S. Duncanson Society was founded in 1986 by the late Doris Rankin Sells, the late 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 Duncanson’s artistic contributions.

Interested in joining? Email to learn more.

Past Duncanson Artists-in-Residence

2024 | Tunde Wey: artist, writer, and chef

2023 | Anita Graef: cellist

2022 | Ajanae Dawkins: writer, performer, educator

2021 | Asha Ama Bias-Daniels: fashion designer

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



The P&G Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Artist-in-Residence Accommodations

Generously provided by Morgan and Eddie Rigaud

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