New Orleans, LA
2023-2024 Grant When Great Minds Have Great Tools, They Can Accomplish Great Things
Rontherin Ratliff is a mixed media sculptor whose creative practice investigates ideas of balance and the human condition. He will use this grant as a stepping-stone toward his long-term goal to build live/workspaces for artists at the cost of construction. His personal experience of renting a studio space led to the decision that owning a space for both living and working is a more sustainable and desirable option. The grant will fund the architectural plans and cost associated with construction of his own live/work space on a lot in the neighborhood he grew up where he has watched the effects of gentrification over the last 15 years.
“I designed a two story double that will have studios on the ground level and living space on the second level. The additional live/work space will act as an income generator,” says Ratliff. In building his own live/work space, he is designing a blueprint that he can follow in the future to build live/work spaces for other artists as an “affordable foundation upon which they can build their artistic careers.”
Ratliff’s artwork addresses the idea of home on many levels, exploring homesickness, the body as a residence for the mind, and “reservations regarding home as a safe-haven where one experiences positive qualities such as security and comfort.” He considers internal versus external balance through artwork constructed from architectural materials and domestic objects.
After joining YAYA in 1995, Ratliff later returned as YAYA’s Studio Manager 2008-2012 then served as Artistic Director 2012-2015. He is a member of Level Artist Collective and Antenna Gallery in New Orleans and has exhibited work locally at the Historic New Orleans Collection, Joan Mitchell Center, Delgado University, Antenna, Double Shotgun Gallery, Stella Jones Gallery, Xavier University, Tulane University’s Carroll Gallery and Newcomb Gallery, Contemporary Arts Center, and Prospect.1 and Prospect. 4 satellite exhibitions. He also has exhibited in Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, Tennessee, New York, Washington, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Mexico and the Netherlands. In 2007, he collaborated in the set design for Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot that was produced by Creative Time and staged in the Lower 9th Ward and, in 2009, he was the artistic director for the set design of the Guggenheim Museum’s production of Peter and the Wolf in New York City. In 2014, Ratliff participated in the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Artist In Residence program and, in 2015, he completed a residency hosted by Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator (Miami, FL). In 2017, he was an artist in residence at Court 13 in New Orleans and Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, NC.
Rontherin Ratliff first joined the YAYA Guild in 1995.
All works are copyright of the artist.