Actor/Playwright Nikkole Salter will be the 2012 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence. The Taft and the Duncanson Society have commissioned Salter to write and perform a one-person play about 19th-century African American painter Robert S. Duncanson, for whom the residency is named. During her residency, Salter will give public performances and provide workshops and master classes in schools and with youth groups.
“I am the kind of actor who appreciates above all else the ability to engage my community in a relevant way with my art form. The Duncanson residency represents a rare opportunity to do that,” said Salter. “The idea of bridging audiences from different worlds by using art that everyone cares about seemed to be a perfect way to increase awareness and foster unity in the commUNITY. The notion that what I could do with my art would be useful to other artists and other art forms was an appealing thought. I had never professionally partnered with another arts institution that wasn’t theatre. Though now that I think of it, the first acting job I ever got paid for was playing Addy from the American Girl series in a production at an art museum.”
Salter moved to the east coast to attend Howard University in Washington D.C. and New York University where she earned her master’s degree. In 2005 she exploded onto the professional theatre scene with her co-authorship and co-performance of the off-Broadway hit, In the Continuum. Set in Zimbabwe and Los Angeles, In the Continuum is a moving yet comedic tale of two women – a television newscaster from Africa and an American teenager – who both learn they’re pregnant and HIV positive. The play has been produced internationally, including performances in several South African cities, and has received OBIE (Off-Broadway) and New York Outer Critics Circle awards, among many others. The New York Times, Newsday and New York Magazine proclaimed it one of the best plays of 2005. The play was staged at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park the following year. More recently, she appeared in Cincinnati Playhouse’s production of Gees Bend.
Deeply committed to education and with a keen sense of social responsibility, Salter is the founder and executive director of The Continuum Project, a non-profit organization that creates innovative artistic programming for community empowerment and enrichment. The organization’s Legacy Program, an arts education and youth development initiative in select schools in Brooklyn, NY, has been featured on the PBS program Finding Your Roots, hosted by Henry Louis Gates.