Ainsley Burrows and Vonne
Ainsley Burrows and Vonne

BMA affiliate Joshua Johnson Council initiative embeds artists at Maryland Institute College of Art for eight weeks

BALTIMORE, MD (May 23, 2024)—The Baltimore Museum of Art, (BMA), Joshua Johnson Council (JJC), and the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) today announced Ainsley Burrows and Vonne Napper have been selected for the 2024 Summer Artist-in-Residence program at MICA jointly sponsored by the three organizations. Launched in 2022, the residency program provides selected artists the opportunity to work in MICA’s Fred Lazarus IV Studio Center Studio over the course of eight weeks in June and July, allowing the artists to expand their work and scale, as well as embedding themselves within the college community. Burrows and Napper are both Baltimore-based artists who were selected by a five-panel jury comprised of Benjamin Kelley, Donna Rawlings, and Annie Roberts, representing each organization, as well as Nicoletta Daríta de la Brown and Charles Mason III, the previous JJC artists-in-residence.

“The JJC summer residency at MICA is an important collaboration to support the careers of Baltimore-area artists and share their practice and knowledge with the MICA community,” said Jean Thompson, JJC President. “We have been excited each year to facilitate and witness the growth that occurs through relationships strengthened by the BMA, JJC, and MICA. The artists tell us how rare it can be to have a studio and a welcoming community to work in and the gift of resources to develop their practice.”

Ainsley Burrows (b. 1974, Kingston, Jamaica) is a full-time multidisciplinary artist who explores untold stories and unspoken emotions. He is a poet, musician, and performer, as well as a painter, and his different creative pursuits influence each other. As a self-taught artist, Burrows began working with acrylic paint on canvas in 2009, transforming his talent and success in writing into a visual language. During the pandemic in 2020, he was forced to take a break from his livelihood and hit the ground running in the art world. He had spent the previous four years creating a series of 125 acrylic paintings called The Maroons: Rebellion. Selections from that series were the subject of Burrows’ first solo exhibition at State University of New York Oneonta in 2022. Since then, Burrows has had solo exhibitions at Rush Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Creative Alliance, Baltimore, MD; The DC Arts Center, Washington, DC; and an upcoming solo exhibition at Gallery In The Sky (World Trade Center), Baltimore, MD. He has also participated in group exhibitions at Artscape, Baltimore, MD; 11:Eleven Gallery, Washington, DC; Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA; and Amos Eno Gallery, Brooklyn, NY. His work is included in several private collections.

Vonne Napper (b. 1989, Washington, DC) is a community-based interdisciplinary artist born and raised in Washington, DC. As a child, they displayed great interest in learning new things, with one door of inspiration opening to the next. Consequently, their art practice spans various mediums including music production, printmaking, graphic design, videography, painting, writing, sewing, movement performance, installation, and assemblage. Napper’s practice centers on social justice, new-age healing, and preserving Black queer and trans narratives. Identifying as nonbinary and trans-masculine, Napper pulls from their lived experience to highlight the challenges of existing at a particularly targeted intersection in today’s society and employs their spirituality to establish connections between the communities to which they belong. Their work has been presented in galleries and included in numerous programs throughout the Baltimore-Washington region.


Benjamin Kelley is the Director of Fabrication Studios and Adjunct Faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art, as well as a Baltimore-based artist who re-contextualizes found objects and alters their orientation with fabricated structures. Donna Rawlings is a member of the Joshua Johnson Council. Annie Roberts is Assistant Curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art, who worked at the Museum of Modern Art in New York prior to joining the BMA. Nicoletta Daríta de la Brown is a Baltimore-based award-winning interdisciplinary artist and curandero chamána (shamanic practitioner) and a 2023 JJC Artist-in-Residence. Charles Mason III is a Baltimore-based artist and curator who creates abstractions around identity politics and the “performative act of blackness” experienced and manifested through physical materials and a 2023 JJC Artist-in-Residence.

Joshua Johnson Council

The Joshua Johnson Council (JJC) is an affiliate group of the BMA and one of the oldest museum support groups dedicated to Black Diaspora artists and their art.  Named after an 18th-century African American portrait painter, the JJC has 40 years of furthering its mission of forging meaningful connections between the BMA and Baltimore’s African American communities. JJC members are artists, administrators, museum professionals, collectors, and others who share the same goals. The group supports artists through programming initiatives in conjunction with the BMA, its virtual platform JJC Talks, museum internships, and by supporting acquisitions. The directives of the JJC have seen over three decades of artist support and development, creating a body of work that is truly visionary, intergenerational, and responsive to the needs of the moment.

Maryland Institute College of Art

The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), founded in 1826, is consistently ranked in the very top tier of visual arts colleges in the nation and enrolls approximately 1,400 undergraduate students and 300 graduate students. MICA offers programs of study leading to the BFA, MA, MAT, and MFA degrees, as well as post-baccalaureate certificate programs and a full slate of credit and noncredit courses for adults, college-bound students, and children. Located in the City of Baltimore, MICA is committed to an expanded understanding of the role of creative citizens in communities and unique approaches to cross-cultural, economic, and political contexts and partnerships. MICA accelerates the knowledge, skills, habits, and work of creatives who are self-reflexive, visionary, and entrepreneurial. MICA is also recognized as an important cultural resource for the Baltimore/Washington region, sponsoring many public and community-based programs, including more than 100 exhibitions by students, faculty, and nationally and internationally known artists annually, as well artists’ residencies, film series, lectures, readings, and performances. Visit the College’s website at

About the Baltimore Museum of Art

Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.

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