Skip to main content

Photo: Mike Morgan

decorative shadow image decorative shadow image

Artist In Residence: Paul Rucker

Jul 1, 2017 – Jul 1, 2018

Paul Rucker is a visual artist, composer, and musician who combines live performance, sound, original compositions, and visual art.

His work is the product of a rich interactive process, through which he investigates community impact, human rights issues, historical research, and basic human emotions surrounding particular subject matter.

Much of his current work focuses on the prison-industrial complex and the many issues accompanying incarceration in its relationship to slavery. He has presented performances and visual art exhibitions across the country and has collaborated with educational institutions to address the issue of mass incarceration. Presentations have taken place in schools, active prisons, and inactive prisons such as Alcatraz.

Rucker is a 2012 Creative Capital grantee in visual art as well as a 2014 Multi-Arts Production Fund grantee for performance. In 2013-15, he was the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Artist in Residence and Research Fellow at the Maryland Institute and College of Art. In 2015, he was awarded a Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors grant.

Rucker is a 2018 TED Fellow.


As artist-in-residence, Rucker will be teaching a VCU course on music improvisation and developing several community-engaged projects that imaginatively address structural racism and give voice to a wide range of Richmond citizens. These include projects to produce “Harmony Food Sauce” in collaboration with formerly incarcerated people and a major installation and a musical performance for the ICA’s opening exhibition, Declaration, as well as for the Richmond Symphony’s Festival of the River, June 8-10, 2018, at Brown’s Island.