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Friends of Judson is a secular 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2019. The organization was created to provide support—including fundraising, strategic advising, and outreach—to the secular arts and justice initiatives that are affiliated with and often housed within Judson Memorial Church. 

In 2021, we embraced the name Judson Commons to better reflect what we do and how we do it. We welcome a wide range of folks into our space so that they may create together, inspire each other and collectively envision a new liberatory path forward. While much of the activity takes place in our historic building in Greenwich Village, all of  the co-creations and people who are in relationship here have ripple effects throughout the city, the country, and the world.


Our community engagement programming uplifts the intersections of art and social justice through residencies, programming, partnerships, and space-sharing. Through our efforts, we hope to provide this commons as a home for the vital collaborations that sustain social justice movements, and a safe and uncensored environment for artists, activists, and audiences.

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“The People’s Flag Show” (1970) filled Judson Church with over 100 anti-war art pieces, resulting in the arrest (for flag desecration) of the organizers, artists Faith Ringgold, Jon Henricks and Jean Toche.  

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 Installation of Yoko Ono's Painting To Hammer A Nail  January 19, 1990 

Judson Commons is rooted in the lineage of radical arts and justice movements that have long been associated with this storied church on the south side of Washington Square Park.



In 1955, Judson’s staff began asking artists what they really needed and these conversations led to a simple answer: they needed space to show art that was out of the mainstream. This led to the founding of Judson Gallery, where for over a ten years vibrant, new voices like Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, Yoko Ono, Allan Kaprow, Phyllis Yampolsky, Tom Wesselmann and Kate Millett showed their early works. Avant-garde art and “happenings” found a home, as did the Judson Dance Theater (now celebrated as the birthplace of post-modern dance) where new forms were pioneered by the likes of Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, David Gordon, Deborah Hay, Fred Herko, Meredith Monk, Steve Paxton and Robert Rauschenberg, and many others others.


In the 1960s and 70s, Judson’s embrace of a range of artistic expressions birthed the revolutionary Judson Poets’ Theater, now considered one of the original homes of the Off-Off-Broadway scene. More recently, all aspects of the arts continue through Judson Arts and Judson Commons, especially through Judson Arts Wednesdays (JAW), where once again emerging artists are highlighted in a playground for uncensored experimentation.



Judson's history of social justice initiatives is one of response, adaptation, and mutual aid. In 1967, Judson helped found the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion which supported women in finding safe abortions before it was legal. Medical needs became a throughline in other initiatives—helping sex workers find the healthcare they needed while The Prostitution Project offered a warm and welcoming bus in which to socialize; the Center for Medical Consumers gave everyone access to medical information (pre-internet); and during the AIDS crisis, Judson not only provided services and actively worked for a cure, it was also one of the first places to offer space to memorialize those who succumbed to the disease. 


As an outgrowth of its longstanding immigration work, Judson helped incubate  the New Sanctuary Movement. In the summer of 2020, Judson provided a Protester Sanctuary in the form of shelter from the police, food, water, respite and facilities for protesters who took to the streets in the wake of the brutal murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.  


Judson has always sought to be a commons where art and social justice movements have nudged us into becoming who we need to be. Now, with the founding of Judson Commons, this vision has moved to the next level, helping us to build new foundations on our history that will sustain our support for the artists, activists, and organizers who will lead us all into the future.

Artistic Director

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Rev. Micah Bucey serves as the Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, a congregation committed to curiously seeking the intersections between expansive spirituality, radical social justice, and uncensored creative expression. They are also the author of The Book of Tiny Prayer, out now from Fordham University Press. They love to talk about queer spirituality, Dolly Parton, and whatever movie they've just seen, and they love to be inspired by what others are passionate about, so feel free to reach out to them at


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Ted Dawson

Ted moved to New York City to pursue a graduate degree in philosophy at the New School for Social Research after graduating from Mount St. Paul College, an affiliate of Marquette University, with degrees in English and Philosophy. His love of painting and drawing soon led him to the Art Students League where he studied with Norman Lewis. He began studying graphic design and illustration at The School of Visual Arts and soon started working as an art director, most notably for Braniff Airlines. With accounts in the not-for-profit world accumulating, he opened Ted Dawson Studio. Performing arts, not-for-profit and public relations clients soon followed. Ted is a long standing board member at Bailey House, which houses homeless people with HIV/AIDS, and is founding member of its annual auction. He has also served as moderator on the board of directors of historic Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village. He considers himself fortunate to be able to combine a love of art and design with a strong commitment to public service.

He lives with his husband, Bart Boehlert, in New York City.


Lisa Holton

Lisa Holton is an interfaith minister. Previously, Holton was the President of Classroom, Inc., an ed tech nonprofit, as well as President of Scholastic’s Publishing and Book Fair Divisions. She ran the Global Children’s Book Division at the Walt Disney Company for nine years, where she led Hyperion Books for Children and co-founded Jump at the Sun, one of the first African American children’s book imprints.

Prior to joining the Friends of Judson board, she was a member of the Feminist Press board, an advisory member the NYC Women’s Leadership Council, and served as a board member of the New York Women’s Foundation for twelve years.

Holton lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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Kedian Keohan

Kedian Keohan is a director, performer, and producer of live performance. They have collaborated with artists Erin Markey, Ann Marie Dorr & Paul Ketchum, minor theater, Geoff Sobelle, Andrew Schneider, Dance Heginbotham, and Alice Gosti. Currently: Kedian is a member of the 2019-2021 Soho Rep Writer / Director Lab and performs the role of Major in minor theater’s Marie It’s Time (HERE Arts Center). Recent directing work: A Bone to Pick (Brunch Theatre), Venus in Gemini (Exponential Festival), *Chefs Kiss* (FEAST/Your Uncle Richard), and Fantasy (No Theme Festival). Recent assisting work: minor theater’s Pathetic (Abrons Art Center) and Andrew Butler’s Rags Parkland Sings Songs of the Future (Ars Nova). Their dearly departed theater company Church of the Millennials presented work at Ars Nova Makers Lab, BAX Upstart Festival, and IRT. Kedian is a proud trans gnc alumnus of Dan Fishback’s NEEDING IT class at BAX.  they/he

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Mary Meyer

Mary Meyer is a long-time member of Judson Church where she has acted in variety of leadership roles, including several times as a board member and twice as moderator of the board. She is a strong supporter of the arts at Judson although her primary arts experience was as a member of the chorus in a number of Al Carmines oratorios and the Judson Choir. She worked in a number of non-profit organizations, but most recently before her retirement, with Choice in Dying (later Partnership for Caring), an organization that focused on improving end-of-life care through public and professional education, and legal advocacy for the rights of patients to make their own health care decisions. 

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