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Artist in Residence

What is the Artist in Residence Program?

In 2015, Folk Alliance International launched an annual Artist in Residence pilot to develop partnerships, foster cultural cross-pollination, and nurture artistic growth.

In its inaugural year Nashville-based musician Brandy Zdan was partnered with LA based choreographer Kelly Ann Sloan to work with 10 dancers from the Kansas City Ballet in the creation of a piece entitled Loan Hunter. The new multi-disciplinary work premiered in at the New Moves Dance Festival, and an excerpt was performed during the 2015 FAI conference.

Past Years

2016 Artist in Residence - Joe Crookston

This year, FAI proudly welcomes the National World War I Museum and Memorial as its residency partner, and U.S.-based singer-songwriter Joe Crookston as Artist in Residence. Of Hungarian descent, Crookston was raised in Ohio, and currently calls Ithaca NY home. He released his first album in 2004, has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, and been featured on national radio programs, and received a Rockefeller Foundation songwriting grant. He has four albums, conducts musical tours of Ireland, and is also a painter.

Working with the education team of the Museum to access archived images, letters, and sound recordings over the months of January and February, Crookston has created a new composition inspired by time with this rare material. Working later on site with the Museum, an accompanying selection of images has been prepared to accompany the song which will be presented at the 2016 conference as an opening presentation before Judy Collins’ Keynote address.


A short video Joe created about the making of composition.


2015 Artist in Residence - Brandy Zdan


The inaugural 2015 partner organization is the prestigious Kansas City Ballet. Under the artistic direction of Devon Carney, KC Ballet has been simultaneously exploring new directions with last years’ launch of a New Moves festival, providing an opportunity for national emerging choreographers to create new pieces with resident dancers. Following an impromptu meeting between Carnery and FAI's Executive Director Aengus Finnan, a fledgling partnership was formed with the idea of bringing an adventurous folk musician into the mix. Enter acclaimed Nashville-based Canadian artist Brandy Zdan, who had earlier explored work with contemporary dancers. Zdan writes, sings, and performs on electric and acoustic guitars, lap steel, and accordion. She has recently stepped forward as a solo artist following over 10 years of international touring, initially as Winnipeg-based Twilight Hotel (receiving 2 JUNO award nominations), and later as a side-woman for Austin-based female super-group The Trishas. Working with KC Ballet’s selected choreographer, LA-based Kelly Ann Sloan, and a company of 10 dancers over the month of January and February, a 12 minute piece entitled Lone Hunter was created and premiered Feb. 6th at the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity in Kansas City. A 6 minute excerpt of the piece was presented with 2 dancers as an opening ceremony for Rita Coolidge’s Keynote address at the Folk Alliance conference at 1pm on Thursday Feb 19th, in the Westin Hotel in Kansas City, MO.

World Headquarters 509 DELAWARE ST. #101, KANSAS CITY, MO 64105 • 816-221-FOLK (3655) • FAI@FOLK.ORG

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