Esalen has long been a place where people could step out of their daily lives to step more fully into themselves. And the Artist in Residence program, piloted last year with Sharon Virtue, is a natural extension of what Esalen does best: offering a purpose-built space for plumbing the depths of passions, fears, hopes, whims, and talents.
This spring, we’ll welcome three artists for one-month residencies. We can’t wait to see what they create with daily needs take care of taken care of and the beauty of Big Sur all around them — and we can’t wait to introduce them to you:
Atlanta’s Danny Fluker, Jr. is a writer, yoga teacher, IT professional, and wellness advocate. His list of skills is long, but his vocation is focused: making wellness modalities like yoga and meditation accessible in Black communities in America and throughout the African diaspora, with a particular focus on Black boys and men. His project, Black Boys OM is both a grassroots movement and a non-profit, impacting 90+ local communities through Wellness Leaders who are already using the tools of mindfulness and Yoga for themselves.
I envision arriving at Esalen and grounding in the space as well as my practice and allowing new strategies for leading and programs for serving to emerge. I want us to bridge the gap between our own wellness practice and that of the practices of those in the communities that we serve.
Darnell Lamont Walker is an actor, filmmaker, and writer. Along with writing for Blues Clues & You, and publishing children’s books, he’s released two documentaries: Seeking Asylum, in which he traveled the world, asking citizens of other countries if they'd welcome African-Americans who were growing afraid of living in the U.S.; and Outside the House, which examines the walls of secrecy around mental health and mental illness in African-American households. His current documentary film project, which he hopes will be influenced by Esalen, examines happiness.
Here I am jumping further and further west, hoping to land at Esalen with the pens that are necessary for my morning pages; the laptop that’s necessary for these short screenplays, poems, essays, documentary outlines, and children’s books; and the camera that’s necessary for the journey on which Esalen may play a major role, a new project on happiness.
Amy Yoshitsu is a sculptor, researcher, and multi-disciplinary digital designer who explores the relationship between the individual and systems: utilities and mass transit infrastructure as solutions to physical human needs and facilitators of class divides. The variances in the materials, aesthetics, and definitions of shelter. Acts of self-expression through graffiti and displays of wealth through orderliness. She’s a founding member of Converge Collaborative, a group of creators and artists of color committed to creating a space defined by sharing, support, and feedback rather than power and wealth. Amy has several research interests inspired by the Center for Theory & Research and intends to engage with the Esalen Archive to explore topis such as metacognition and inherited psychological wealth.
What could the world wide web be (and how it could become) a space shaped by artists, historians, and environmentalists, instead of platform makers and extractive capitalists? Could the internet ever be healed and become a source of healing?
Danny, Darnell, and Amy will be sharing their process and progress with us here, via our social channels, and on Esalen Live!