Ya’Ke Smith, known for his unflinching and veracious style of storytelling, is a rising voice in independent cinema. His films have received world-wide acclaim, screening and winning awards at more than 90 film festivals. He currently writes and directs television content for AMS Pictures and the REELZ Network and serves as an associate professor of film at the University of Texas at Austin.


Friday, October 4

Film Screening and Talk Back
Please check back for more information!


Saturday, October 5
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Panel Discussion | TBD
Please check back for more information!

Film Screening and Talk Back | 3:45 p.m.
Watch and discuss Duncanson Artist-in-Residence Ya’Ke Smith’s The Beginning and Ending of Everything (54 mins) as part of the OTR International Film Festival. This film tells the story of Angelita who returns home from prison in hopes of reuniting with the young child she left behind. When she discovers the child is nowhere to be found, she goes on a quest to find the baby, her hope, and her reason for living. There will be a Q&A with Ya’Ke following the screening.

*Film trailer may contain mature content and themes*: https://vimeo.com/213540848

$10 tickets available through the OTR International Film Festival website:


Sunday, October 6, 6–8 p.m.

Taft Museum of Art Join us as we welcome Ya’Ke Smith to Cincinnati. Meet the artist, see a sample of his work, and be inspired.
FREE. Refreshments, cash bar, and complimentary valet parking. Reservations recommended: Registration opens September 1.


Film as Activism: A Conversation with Ya’Ke Smith
Wednesday, October 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Join the Taft Museum of Art & Cincinnati Film Society for an inspiring evening of film and conversation. Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, Ya’Ke Smith, will show excerpts of his work and speak about how he creates art to spark conversation about often overlooked but highly relevant socio-political topics.

This program is an hour-long moderated talk interspersed with film excerpts. The film excerpts may contain mature content and themes. A 15 minute Q&A with the audience will follow the talk.

FREE tickets are available on a first come first served basis the day of the event at the Esquire box office.

Event sponsored by The Esquire Theatre.

The Duncanson Artist-in-Residence Program was established in 1986 to honor the achievements of contemporary African American artists working in a variety of disciplines. The program honors the relationship between African American painter Robert S. Duncanson and his patron, Nicholas Longworth, who commissioned Duncanson to paint landscape murals in the foyer of his home, now the Taft Museum of Art. The breadth of talent featured throughout the history of the residency has been matched by its depth of programming and outreach to the Cincinnati community.

The Duncanson Society

The Robert S. Duncanson Society was originated in 1986 by Doris Rankin Sells, William Joel McCray, and Ruth K. Meyer to affirm an ongoing African American presence within the structure of the Taft Museum of Art and to celebrate Robert S. Duncanson’s artistic contributions.

The 2018 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence was Vanessa German.



Residence Sponsor:




Artist accommodation provided by Morgan and Eddie Rigaud.

Opening Reception generously supported by Bonnie Gleaves.

Partnerships for the 2019 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence: