Introducing Vision Resident




STARR BUSBY is an experimental artist who sings, acts, composes, educates and is dedicated to the liberation of All people. You may have seen Starr playing solo shows with their loop station, Francis, or fronting Brooklyn-based experimental soul band People’s Champs ( Starr has also supported artists such as The Gorillaz, Esperanza Spalding, X Ambassadors, Kimbra and Alice Smith. Selected appearances include: Moby Dick (American Repertory Theatre; Starbuck); Octet (Signature Theatre; Paula – Drama Desk Award Winner); where love lies fallow (The Shed; Nia 1); Apollo Cafe Live: Soul Cypher#BlackGirlMagic Show (Jack; composer/performer); Mikrokosmos (Steirischer Herbst, Graz and Nottingham Contemporary); The Girl with the Incredible Feeling (Spoleto Festival di Mondi) as well as various concerts. Starr also enjoys working as an arts educator through organizations such as Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project and Long Island University’s Post Theatre Company where they are a member of the voice faculty. She is looking forward to continuing the development of (pray) with nicHi douglas and JJJJJerome Ellis at Ars Nova. Their music is available via Bandcamp, Spotify and Apple Music. 



Healing Soundboxes: A Series of Aquifers
April 5 – April 26 | $10
Healing Soundboxes: A Series of Aquifers are four recordings of voice and modular synths performed by Starr Busby and James Allister Sprang to be released weekly throughout the month of April. These recordings are meant to support meditative deep listening and joy. Join these artists in deep listening and become an aquifer to the present moment. We welcome our bodies, our ancestors, our traumas, our pain, our longings, visions and dreams.
Your ticket includes access to all four installments of Healing Soundboxes: A Series of Aquifers. Each installment is an audio experience that can be played at your convenience following its release on April 5, 12, 20 & 26. Join us for the final installment live at 7 PM ET on April 26, followed by a conversation between James Allister Sprang and Starr Busby.
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Premieres April 15 @ 7PM ET | FREE
Created, Performed & Directed by MERCY
An archive of the glorious self. A reimagining of the baby picture for the growing transgender body. Documenting womanhood, pain, growth, god, love and joy. Blessed are the trans!
This evening includes the premiere of SOUTHERN GOTH followed by a conversation with MERCY and Vision Resident Starr Busby.
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The Black Beginning
Premieres April 16 @ 6PM ET | $10
The Black Beginning is a multidisciplinary cabaret featuring Black queer artists and performers based in New York City. Each participating artist creatively responds to the concept of “The Black Beginning,” — whether on historical developments of the arts, identity formation, the origin of the universe or any number of other questionings and answerings.
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addy gets a childhood
Premieres April 22 @ 7PM ET | FREE
poem & video by kim mayo
video assistance from MICHAEL SACHS 
music by kim mayo & MICHAEL SACHS 
addy gets a childhood is a poem, video, pleasure & reclamation project created by poet/musician/composer/artist kim mayo, aka moonheart. ‘addy’ reimagines the life of the (until recently) only black American Girl Doll, Addy Walker, whose white creators saw a black doll & called her an enslaved child, a child who had to escape that, a child who was not afforded what should have been her birthright, had she not been born into this anti-black, imperialist, white supremacist, hetero-patriarchal, capitalist world-a childhood. This project seeks to give to Addy all of the joy, the pleasure, the play, the freedom, the candies, the safety, the rambling afternoons, the delights of childhood that she was not afforded. It is a blessing sent back to mayo’s baby ancestors, & one sent toward the future, where mayo envisions a world in which each black child is allowed to be one.
This evening includes the premiere of addy gets a childhood followed by a conversation with kim mayo and Vision Resident Starr Busby.
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9 C u p s i n t h e M o o N
Premieres May 1 @ 7PM ET | $10
Created & Performed by Vision Resident STARR BUSBY 
Creative Direction by LILLETH GLIMCHER
Video Direction by MUSE DODD
“As I am impelled to evolve beyond my fears and insecurities; walking the path of self-knowledge through the unknown inner realms of myself. I manifest what I want by visualizing it clearly and precisely”
– paraphrased from Tarot for Your Self by Mary K. Greer
9 C u p s i n t h e M o o N is an exploration into the murk of being. Desire, disappointment, agency, inertia, faith and fulfillment all play a role. How do we visualize the future we want to see amidst the dark challenges of our present? How do we allow ourselves to grow and evolve while sifting through the mess of our past?
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ON STARR BUSBY — a profile by nicHi douglas

i took writing this artist profile for Starr as an opportunity to reflect on all the ways i have known them & all the memories i have formed with them in art and life. what follows is part love letter part biography part (re)introduction part free write and part unspecified writing tactic, which are all forms of communicating & processing that are necessary in beginning to encapsulate in writing – if that were even possible – the vastness that is Starr Busby.



you merely took a wig off and put a wig back on

that’s when i knew

this is 
last week
last night
last week
last night
both very strange
i don’t have ANY answers, Sway

i pretty much wrote a play for you and i’d do it again

when you speak i have the strange feeling of being completely understood which is to say that i understand myself through you and i don’t want that to feel creepy or like too much but i have always struggled to communicate verbally and having the privilege of working in community with you has afforded me the opportunity to be guided by your ancient & future wisdom which you have the rare ability to be able to express out loud which has healed me and held me and asked me to expand beyond self-enforced limitations so stank you smelly much

this is a love letter

i remember there was a still life of fruits 
and the wooden sculpture 
was a depiction of a young white girl working 
on a “spinning jenny”

“Jenny put down the spinning wheel/ 
all you got is spun yarn for your heart/ 
jenny, you know it’s time to heal/ 
but, you gotta slow down ‘fore it starts…”


sometime in 2017
or 2018
you wrote down a few of your beliefs
yes, because i asked you to lol for the project
somehow i believe that the writing was on its way out of you regardless tho
what you may not know is that all of what you wrote all of those beliefs crafted with the exact intention&syntax you divined put into action a series of small changes in my life that have made me feel whole

made me feel powerful
and encouraged 
very blessed indeed <3 
i’m really feeling 
held and 
known and 
loved by God and my ancestors right now 
lots of gratitude for them


this is
sculpture as a metaphor for my own life
members of my spirit team  
my Momo (maternal grandmother, Mable)
Nate (my stepfather, he is always lively and beaming) 
one of my spirit guides who wears a purple sequin jacket and thinks he’s running everything another guide/potential ancestor who is an older east African woman, 
gorgeous and in navy blue with golden details, 
she wears a hat like a halo, she beams love 
a guide/ancestor who is a very large and heavy dark skinned black woman
her head is always wrapped and she is able to stir oceans with this spinning and staff pounding movement she does
she is otherwise silent.

i relate to silence

at the time
my lord….

this is what you who are reading may not understand
this is a (re)introduction 
not of an artist
of a way of moving through life
of a way to be in relationship to our global community
of determining the equity of values
of an answer to your soul’s calling
to your spirit
an ancestral balm
elemental orchestrations
cosmic evolution
try to keep up


deep within the cavern of their spirit
burns light
a pool of dim water
a softer (earth)tone
echoes endlessly intothesky 


About the Author

nicHi douglas is a Brooklyn-based performer, choreographer, director, playwright, educator and ART-IVIST who spells her name with a capital H. you can refer to nicHi using any pronoun said with Respect. they are the Head of Movement in the NYU/Tisch Playwrights Horizons Theater School studio. he has developed original theater work at Denver Center, Berkeley Rep, and The Public Theater, among others. she recently developed an interactive dance exhibit for the National Museum of African-American Music, and Co-Directed an evening-length event for the Women’s Summit at this year’s all-virtual Sundance Film Festival (2021). their sacred offering for Black womxn, (pray), co-composed by Starr Busby & JJJJJerome Ellis, has been commissioned by Ars Nova. nicHi’s reparations-based mutual aid fund, nicHi’s SuSu, launched in October 2020. nicHi is currently also a Resident Artist in New Victory Theater’s LabWorks Residency 20-21. recent stage credits: A Time Like This: Music for Change (Carnegie Hall, Stage Director), Girl From the North Country (Public Theater, Associate Choreographer), where love lies fallow (Open Call/The Shed, The Public Theater, Playwright/Choreographer/Director), SKiNFoLK: An American Show (NYT Critic’s Pick//The Bushwick Starr/National Black Theater, Choreographer) upcoming: The Harriet Holland Social Club Presents the 84th Annual Star-Burst Cotillion in the Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel (The Movement Theatre Company/New Georges, Movement Director) BFA, Tisch/NYU; MFA, The New School. | @mynameisnichi



Designed to foreground Ars Nova’s values through the creation of more equitable and power-sharing curatorial practices, the Vision Residency expands Ars Nova’s artistic vision by inviting seven artist-curators to populate our digital platform with their own work as well as work by artists they champion and admire.

Each Resident is given broad support from Ars Nova’s full staff, and spends two months planning for one month of activity on Ars Nova Supra. Each will be paid for their curation and administrative work, as well as a program budget to allocate towards the creation, development and presentation of work during their curated month. Vision Residents are encouraged to invite other artists they feel inspired by, want to collaborate with or simply wish to amplify, to make and share work using the budget and resources of the residency during their month of programming.

The 2020/21 Vision Residents are:
Starr Busby, nicHi douglas, JJJJJerome Ellis, raja feather kelly, Jenny Koons, David Mendizábal & Rona Siddiqui.

For more information, click here.