Immersive Van Gogh Charlotte Announces Artist-in-Residence Recipients

Selected artists receive one-month-long residency
July 8, 2021 /

July 8, 2021 (Charlotte, NC) – Today, Blumenthal Performing Arts and Lighthouse Immersive announce the recipients of the Artist-in-Residence program at Immersive Van Gogh, the record-breaking exhibition bringing Vincent van Gogh’s masterpieces to life through 500,000+ cubic feet of projections in Camp North End’s historic Ford Building. The recipients are: Laura Sexton, Rosalia Weiner, Zaire McPhearson (now through July 19, 2021); Eva Crawford, Mike Wirth, Alvin C. Jacobs Jr. (July 22­–August 16, 2021); Cat Babbie, Tara Spil, Justin Ellis, and Elizabeth Palmisano (August 19–September 22, 2021).

“Charlotte’s Immersive Van Gogh Artist-in-Residence program brings together some of the best artists in our community, both emerging and established, who come from a diverse background of mediums and approaches to their work,” says Bree Stallings, Blumenthal’s Director of Artistic Experiences, who also contributed pieces throughout the space that take inspiration from Vincent van Gogh and pay tribute to Charlotte history during the late 19th century when Van Gogh was alive. “The opportunity for the audience to interact with living and working artists as they enter and exit the gallery brings the experience truly full circle. We are so excited to acknowledge the extreme talent and passion of our local artists through this experience.”

Designed for local artists to showcase their work in a unique space with the inspirational backdrop of Vincent van Gogh, the artists-in-residence will create and cultivate work during a paid one-month-long residency at Camp North End’s historic Ford Building, where they will be provided with a dedicated studio space for the length of their residency and the opportunity to showcase and sell original art to attendees of the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit. In order to enhance the Immersive Van Gogh experience, the Artist-in-Residence program has incorporated a VIP component, whereby the artists are called upon to provide Van Gogh-inspired artwork for small print recreations to give to those holding VIP ticket holders.  


The Artist-in-Residence selection panel included Editor in Chief of smART Magazine Michael Zarathustra-Cook from producing partner Lighthouse Immersive as well Charlotte area artists, designer and illustrator Marcus Kiser and artist, activist, filmmaker and workshop facilitator Dana Endsley.

Charlotte Residency Dates
Residency 1: June 17–July 19 (Laura Sexton, Rosalia Weiner, Zaire McPhearson)
Residency 2: July 22– August 16 (Eva Crawford, Mike Wirth, Alvin C. Jacobs Jr.)
Residency 3: August 19 –September 22 (Cat Babbie, Tara Spil, Justin Ellis, Elizabeth Palmisano)


Immersive Van Gogh Charlotte runs at Camp North End through September 12, 2021. For more information and tickets, visit




Laura Sexton uses bold strokes and vivid acrylic paints to celebrate everyday people and practices. She sees her art as a vehicle for connecting and empowering others to grow. Laura’s work has appeared in exhibitions at galleries from Indiana to Georgia, as well as local and online shows. A predominantly self-taught artist, Laura’s theater minor and role as instructor at Wine & Design in Gastonia provided her only training. Laura received the Merit Award from the Gaston County Arts Guild Miniature Show in 2020. ACTFL’s The Language Educator also selected one of Laura’s teacher mask grids for their Spring 2021 cover. @sxtnimpressions


Rosalia Weiner is an ARTivist. Her work is featured in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum has been exhibited at McColl Center, Levine Museum of the New South, UNCC’s Projective Eye Gallery, the City of Raleigh Museum, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Her public murals celebrate the rich history and changing demographics of the South. She uses her art to document social conditions and raise awareness about issues affecting immigrant communities like family separation, racism and moving beyond common stereotypes. Her work will be featured in a solo exhibition at Georgia College in October 2018. Through her Mobile Art Studio, a 24-foot "Art Truck" she takes the arts directly to people in underserved areas in Charlotte. @redcalacastudio


Zaire McPhearson is a mixed media artist from Charlotte, North Carolina, and is passionately fascinated by the story of the world around her. She received her B.A. from South Carolina State University (Orangeburg, SC) and received her Master of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University (Durham, NC). Her strong upbringing in the church led her to the exploration of African American entities through religion and faith. Through her experiences in church, she is able to navigate and explore religion through many controversial topics. She creates artwork that touches on the divine spiritual being and challenges the narrative of traditional biblical figures. She considers her work a love letter to black womanhood. @zairemcphearson


Eva Crawford is a full-time artist with a studio and gallery space at Dilworth Artisan Station in Southend, Charlotte. Individual personalities with their subtle nuances are my joy to recreate as I paint or draw beautiful vessels of the human soul. These portraits are ultimately about relationships with those we love, with those we feel compassion, and with those whom we do not yet understand. @evacrawfordart


Mike Wirth is a Charlotte-based artist and educator. Over the past 20 years, Mike's mural art, published illustration work, and interactive museum exhibits have had a notable presence in the Queen City and internationally. Over the past six years, Mike has focused on large-scale public mural projects and has over three dozen completed mural projects in Charlotte, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. Currently, Mike is a tenured associate professor of graphic design at Queens University of Charlotte and leads his students in community mural projects with traditional and digital tools. He is also one of the founders of the annual Talking Walls Charlotte Mural Festival, which started in 2018. He holds an MFA from Parsons School of Design in Design and Technology and a BFA from Long Island University in Digital Art and Design. Mike is originally from Long Island, NY, and has lived in the Charlotte area with his family since 2005. @mikewirth


Alvin C. Jacobs Jr. specializes in social documentary and professional sports, portrait, editorial, and fashion photography. His distinctive aesthetic is marked by a propensity toward highlighting stark contrast and in dealing in the black & white - both in photography and in the world. This talent for capturing the heart of his subjects on camera has led to him being named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Charlotteans of the Year" and Creative Loafing's "Best Photographer." Welcome to Brookhill also received top honors by Creative Loafing readers as "Best Exhibit". An inaugural Leading on Opportunity Champion he also became the Gantt Center's Artist in Residence. Multiple commissions by the NFL, NBA, and NASCAR and interviews by CNN, HLN, Fox News and various local media outlets. Jacobs' work has been displayed at the Mint Museums Local/Street exhibition and in a Black History Month exhibit for Clifford Chance, LLP in New York. A featured artist in the co-curated exhibition K(no)w Justice, K(no)w Peace at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte and at Davidson College in the photography exhibit Three Steps Back: A Call To Action. Prior to shooting the award-winning photography exhibit as part of the Harvey B Gantt Center's permanent collection Welcome to Brookhill, Jacobs was commissioned to photograph record breaking dates for Jay Z's Tour. @acjphoto


Cat Babbie is a fiber artist and craft collector. She practices various textile mediums including tufting, felted sculptures, weaving and sewing. Currently concentrating in machine-tufting, she uses a yarn-fed power tool to create wall pieces and soft sculptures with hand-dyed wool. Her tufted pieces feature undulating patterns brought to life with her hand-dyed yarn. 

Her work is featured in the 2021 class of ArtPop Street Gallery in her adopted hometown of Charlotte, NC as well as winning an Arts & Science Council CSA grant. Cat studied studio art at James Madison University, where her love of dying yarns began. @catbmakes


Tara Spil is an emerging painter based in Charlotte, NC. After studying fine art, she developed a career in non-profit and a passion for community and social justice. She began creating abstract, data-driven paintings to raise awareness around obstacles people face and the human experience. Working in a variety of mediums, she also paints and draws landscapes and more to capture the beauty of her native state, North Carolina. Often working in thick and bold colors, her paintings convey a sculptural and energetic quality. During 2021, Tara’s work has been supported by the Arts and Science Council, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Blumenthal Endowment. @tspilart


Justin Ellis finds inspiration in the fluid grace of nature. I’m drawn to organic line, authentic materials, and layers that reveal patterns that make the eye dance. My artistic creation involves engaging all the senses - capturing the soul and heartbeat of emotions and bringing them to life. 

I enjoy story telling with mix media and collage. I love what I do and I'm thrilled to be able to share my passion and vision with you. @jus10_ellis


Elizabeth Palmisano is an award-winning mixed-media installation and fiber artist living and working in Charlotte, NC. She was voted “Best Visual Artist” in the QC Nerve 2020 Best in the Nest Awards. Palmisano's community work with youth, trauma survivors, and the under-served taps into the power of art, mindfulness, and experiential learning. She encourages self-reflection and the opening of the mind through the creation of meaningful art. @ellafaeart