Queer & Trans Artists of Color Leadership Residency


Drag queens. Urban & Club dancers. Ballet dancers. Theater geeks. Storytellers. Spoken word poets. Hip-hop artists. Choreographers and performance divas in all mediums!!!

We are not interested in limiting the possibilities of this residency for QTPOC performing artists, but want to acknowledge that SAFEhouse is rooted in dance. Other types of performing artists should consider the potential impact, the benefits and disadvantages, of making working within a dance-centric community. That being said, a strong artistic vision and the desire to realize work and participate in a cooperative arts organization are the top priorities.





AIRspace is a 9-month residency for QTPOC performing artists to connect and share work and resources with each other at SAFEHouse Arts, a traditionally dance-centered performing arts cooperative program based in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco. The residency combines arts and cultural equity leadership trainings with rehearsal space and performance opportunities to experiment, test, and produce work.The intention of this residency is to cultivate and empower queer & trans artists of color to grow professionally and creatively through ongoing meetings, work and resource sharing, group feedback and professional development. AIRspace artists receive a $1000 stipend upon completion of the residency and a percentage of any box office sales.



AIRspace was founded in1987 at the Jon Sims Center for the Arts, which was dedicated to supporting queer and trans artists of color and people living with HIV/AIDS. In 2007, after the close of the Sims Center, the program was transferred to SAFEhouse and operated as a no-frills residency for queer artists. In 2015, the program was put on hiatus for 2 years, while SAFEhouse shifted to a cooperative organizational model and secured a new facility in the Tenderloin’s newly created Transgender Cultural District.  In 2017, SAFEhouse re-launched AIRspace as a hybrid fellowship/residency, actively seeking to invest in queer artists of color in areas of equity and arts leadership.  The current members of the SAFEhouse cooperative have recognized that, while the programs have been open to all, the primary demographic of participants has been white or white-presenting artists and the few artists of color have reported a sense of isolation. In the year 2017, it is not enough to say these programs are open to everyone and wonder why there are few folks of color participating in the organization. To that end, SAFEhouse is redesigning AIRspace to place Queer and Trans artists of color in leadership positions.



10~15hrs/month participation commitment. (This includes individual resident responsibilities AND participation in the SAFEhouse cooperative structure.) 

Regular AIRspace meetings TBD upon acceptance

Weekly rehearsals

Participation in Quarterly SAFEhouse Community Days

Work Groups (as needed) 

Constructive feedback on resident related meetings and duties capturing their observations, questions & insights



Present 3 work-in-progress showings

3 social arts activities 

Complete a Critical Feedback Report based on the collation of constructive feedback with support from the AIRspace Leadership



3-6 hours of rehearsal space per week

Keys - 24-hour access

Monthly Mentoring/Creative Planning Sessions

Quarterly Professional Development Workshops

Publicity and technical support

3 AIRspace showcases

Performance opportunities including connection to 2 festival opportunities (National Queer Arts Festival & West Wave)

A documented final Performance Showcase/Graduation

A creative community to share and get feedback to develop your work

A place to dream big, test ideas, start a teaching practice, focus on process, take risks and experiment, or just connect and play in the studio.Participants can work collaboratively or individually and can include, storytelling, spoken word, music (including but not limited to voice or musical instruments) movement, and theater.

AIRspace provides a modest performance stipend to residents. This is to acknowledge the invisible emotional, mental, or cultural competency labor that often goes unrecognized that QTPOC artists are often called on to provide. AIRspace artists receive a $1000 stipend upon completion of the residency and a percentage of the box office.





You must self-identify as a queer or trans person of color with experience in performance. 

You must be able to commit to actively engaging in mandatory resident and organization activities for the full 9-months, including monthly meetings, and participate in the quarterly evaluation.


Applications for AIRspace 2021 will be available later this year. Please stay tuned! If you have any questions about the residency or application, please contact us via 






All dates in this timeline are MANDATORY and will be reviewed on the February Community Day.


Applications open: November 2019

November 23rd, 2019- Community Day and Informational Open House
Applications close: December 31st
Notification: February 1st
February 29th, 2020- Orientation, Community Day, & AIRspace Workshop with Jesse Bie 

March 2020 - Cultural Equity Training - Date TBD 
May 23rd, 2020-Community Day & AIRspace Workshop with Jesse Bie and GG Torres

June 2020 - National Queer Arts Festival - Performance Date TBD

July 2020 - Development Workshop with Beatrice Thomas - Date TBD
August 29th, 2020- Community Day & AIRspace Workshop with Jesse Bie
Fall 2020 West Wave Festival
November 21st, 2020- Community Day & Final AIRspace Celebration:  Invoices due and payment distributed & Welcome new 2021 AIRspace Artists