Pulling Together Artist: Ashon Crawley

"Having the opportunity to realize a memorial honoring the uncounted but certainly massive number of musicians, singers and choir directors from black churches that died during the height of the AIDS crisis due to the epidemic is so important to me because it will be an occasion, on a large scale and with an international audience, to begin telling the story of musical genius, love and friendship, loss and spiritual abuse."

Ashon Crawley is a writer, artist and teacher, exploring the intersection of performance, blackness, queerness and spirituality. He moves in and out of multiple genres in order to sound out a critique of the normative world–to sound out the possibility for alternatives, for otherwise. He is the Associate Professor of Religious Studies and African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia, and is author of Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (Fordham University Press) and The Lonely Letters (Duke University Press). As Founder of the Otherwise Arts Lab, an integrative arts practice and space, Crawley brings togethers scholars, artists, musicians and community members to exchange ideas, concepts, and practices. He has been granted fellowships with Yaddo, MacDowell, New City Arts Initiative, and Gilead COMPASS Faith Coordinating Center. His audiovisual art has been featured at Second Street Gallery (Charlottesville, Virginia), Welcome Gallery (Charlottesville, Virginia), Bridge Projects (Los Angeles, California) and the California African American Museum (Los Angeles, California). 

Follow Ashon Crawley on Instagram @ashoncrawley, @ashoncrawleyart, @otherwiseartslab, Twitter @ashoncrawley and learn more about his work.

Ashon Crawley is one of six artists selected to bring the Pulling Together exhibition to life on the National Mall in the Fall of 2023. Monument Lab has been invited by the the Trust for the National Mall to curate Pulling Together, the pilot exhibition of the Beyond Granite initiative on the National Mall in the Fall of 2023.

  • Ashon Crawley (Photo by Benita Mayo)
  • Ashon Crawley at the National Mall during a Pulling Together site visit (Photo by AJ Mitchell, 2022)