The Artist-In-Residence program is an initiative that demonstrates the basic mission of the Museum. This eleven-month program offers three up-and-coming artists from all over the world a stipend and twenty-four-hour access to a free studio located on the third floor of the Museum. These artists are also required to use the studio at least twenty hours a week and participate in the Museum's public programs. When the eleven-month program comes to a close, the artist's work is presented in an exhibition at the Museum. The Artist-In-Residence program has become a significant part of the Museum's history and has helped over one hundred artists of African and Latino descent (including Chakaia Booker, David Hammons, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, Mickalene Thomas and Kehinde Wiley) establish themselves in the art community.
The Museum's approximately 2,000 piece collection includes paintings, watercolors, sculptures, drawings, prints, pastels, photographs, mixed-media works, and installations. Exhibitions help to expand visitor's knowledge of modern and contemporary art by artists of African descent. Some past exhibition titles include Harlem Postcards, Body Language, No Filter, Video Studio, Things in Themselves, Brothers and Sisters, and so many others. The acquisition of these pieces comes from either donations or purchases by the Museum's Acquisition Committee. Many of the pieces in the Museum's collection have come from artists who were previously in the Artist-In-Residence program, such as Romare Bearden, Robert Colescott, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Chris Ofili, Betye Saar, Lorna Simpson, Kara Walker and Hale Woodruff.
In addition to the Studio Museum's physical presence, the staff also publishes Studio, it's biannual magazine, produces books, exhibition catalogs, and brochures, making it a leader in scholarship about artists of African descent.1 The cultural and social significance of the Museum makes it one of a kind. The Studio Museum in Harlem has become a true advocate of ethnically diverse artists by offering great educational opportunities, as well as opportunities for their works to become part of the Museum's collections.