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Sarah Beckstrom


Sarah is a creative catalyst and collaborator, originally from Chicago, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area, with some years spent in Santa Fe, NM in between. Her creative work is interdisciplinary and has roots in the photographic process; having traveled from traditional photographic study -- years in the darkroom learning the intricacies of silver and light processes -- to creating installations that incorporate video, sound, sculpture, and performance. Currently, she is working closely with Anna Halprin in the Bay Area. In addition to closely photographing the dance pioneer, she has been involved with Anna's most recent somatic movement training and her performance scoring lab of multidisciplinary artists developing scores based on The RSVP Cycles for creative collaboration.

Sarah graduated from Lake Forest College (IL) in 1994 with a BA in Studio Art. She opened her first studio/gallery, Gallery S, in 1996 in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago and in 1999 moved Gallery S to the Flat Iron Arts Building in Wicker Park, where she co-founded Vital Projects, a community-based photography studio that offered darkroom and studio rental, classes and workshops and exhibition opportunities. Through Vital Projects, Sarah worked as the director of the studio and taught classes and independent study workshops in photography and creative process. She also began to develop a deeper interest in the vital role arts and creativity play in reawakening the human spirit and in building community. In 2003, she moved her studio to the Switching Station Artist's lofts in the Garfield Park neighborhood and began working more in community-based arts, collaborating on interdisciplinary projects with local artists and organizations. From 2006-2008 she coordinated and taught arts programs for youth at the Association House of Chicago, a large social service agency on the west side of the city. She also served as a committee and task force member on Chicago's Building Communities through the Arts Humboldt Park Task Force, the Garfield Park New Communities Program and the Center for Community Arts Partnerships at Columbia College's Urban Missions Program.

Sarah moved to New Mexico in 2008, where she deepened her interest in incorporating elements of our natural environment into her installations and in creating public works of art.  Sarah was involved with Cut+Paste Society, a women's collaborative arts group, as well as taught classes at The Institute of American Indian Arts, New Mexico School for the Arts, and Warehouse21. In 2012 she moved to Oakland, CA to attend Mills College for her MFA in Visual Arts. While at Mills she expanded further into her interdisciplinary practice, diving deeper into elements of performance, video, sound art, and sculpture. She has received awards from the Mills College Visual Arts Department (Hung Liu Prize), the Santa Fe Arts Commission, the Illinois Arts Council, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Her photographic works are in many private collections as well as in The Prentice and Paul Sack Photographic Trust at SFMOMA.


Artist Statement

My creative work emerges as a response to place, merging personal inquiries with location to create forms and/or happenings that utilize resources available in that given spacetime. I am most interested in how creative energy unites with physicality to generate, make, connect, interact, move, respond…



questions or inquiries, please contact sarah@sarahbeckstrom.com