Photo by Martin Vargas Garcia

Artist's Statement


Teaching Manifesto

Curriculum Vitae

Interview with Stephanie about lighting for Rhodessa Jones' The Resurrection of SHE See the article>

Artist's Statement

All of my pieces are homages to the ancestors. My work is an invitation to examine the delicate membrane which veils those who dwell in thespirit world from those we refer to as the living. This membrane is called the heart. Light, historical artifacts, slides and oral narration are my primary tools. I use these elements to reveal neglected members of our culture, (re)placing them in public view.

In my slide projection pieces, I combine the ethereal nature of light and the solidity of architecture to symbolize a balance between the spiritual and material worlds. Projecting images in outdoor architectural settings is my way of monumentalizing the forgotten.

This is my work.

According to Awo Fa'Lokun Fatunmbi, in the Yoruba religion of West Africa, it is harmony with self and the world, with the intent and destiny, with personal will and spiritual responsibility that is the source of long life, good fortune and abundance.

This is my life.

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Stephanie Anne Johnson uses her installations and mixed media sculptures as a way to preserve and honor the history of Africans. She uses large-scale slide projections in settings such as railroad stations, churches, cemeteries and galleries.

As an artist, Ms. Johnson’s work has been exhibited at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), The Jewish Museum (San Francisco), The African American Museum (Dallas), Spelman College Museum of Art (Atlanta) and The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston) among many other national venues. She has had one-person shows at The Center For African American Life and Culture (San Francisco) and The African American Historical Society (San Francisco).

She has been the recipient of grants from The Gerbode Foundation, New Langton Arts, and The National Endowment for the Arts and has been commissioned by The Atlanta Arts Festival, The City of Oakland, The DeYoung Museum, Intersection for The Arts (San Francisco), and Saint Lawrence University (Canton) among other organizations.

In a lighting design career that spans more than three decades, Ms. Johnson has designed shows for Cultural Odyssey (San Francisco), Dimensions Dance Theater (Oakland), The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Arizona Repertory Theater, La Mama Theater  (New York) and Black Moon Theatre (New York and Paris). Her lighting design work has been seen in India, The Netherlands, Italy, France and Belgium.

She has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from The Gerbode Foundation (San Francisco), The Margaret Calder Hayes Prize (U.C. Berkeley), and California State University, Monterey Bay. Ms. Johnson holds degrees (theater, interdisciplinary studies and art) from Emerson College (Boston), San Francisco State University, The University of California at Berkeley and a PhD in Public Policy from The Union Institute & University (Cincinnati). She is a Professor in The Visual and Public Art Department at California State University, Monterey Bay.

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Teaching Manifesto
Stephanie Anne Johnson

I believe in free, equivalent, multifaceted and life long education for every person. In my teaching I employ multiple strategies to accommodate the various types of learning that are necessary for each student to have a successful learning experience.

I strive to present a variety of examples, case studies and lecturers so that every student can find a hero or heroine to inspire them regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, lifestyle or ability.

It is my belief that my students and I are engaged in a reciprocal relationship of teaching and learning. As a recipient of an excellent education from the California State University system, I feel it is my duty to pass it on within this system as a professor.

I endeavor to model respect, compassion and kindness towards everyone who works and studies on campus as well as the community members with whom we work. I work very hard at teaching, constantly re-educating myself, refining my techniques and examining my beliefs and behavior. I expect no less from each and every one of my students to the best of their abilities.

I believe in the essential goodness and innate creative force within every person. I
feel that I am guided by my African, Jewish and Native American ancestors who will sweep the path before me so that I may sweep the path for those to come after me.

I work for the dissolution of inequality and all oppressive forms of hierarchy and bigotry wherever I find them. I believe in inciting within my students the spark of revolution that has provided the impetus for many art forms across all cultures. It is my core belief that all forms of art can and should be used for the healing of the spirit, the restoration of rights for those who have been treated unjustly and the transformation of the world back to a state of balance, prosperity and harmony.

I believe that change happens first within an individual then within a group and ultimately in time, throughout the world. To this end, I strive to be mindful and courageous in every aspect of my life.

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Curriculum Vitae


Stephanie Anne Johnson
Lighting and Slide Design

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