Grants and Fellowships

Grants Awarded

2017 Creative Renewal Fellowship - Arts Council of Indianapolis
2017 Arts in the Park Grant - Indiana Arts Commission
2017 Individual Artist Grant - Indiana Arts Commission
2016 Arts in the Park Grant - Indiana Arts Commission

Creative Renewal Fellowship 2017 - Italy and Croatia

Dianna was awarded a Creative Renewal Fellowships in 2017 along with 29 other artists in Indianapolis. This fellowship, similar to a creative sabbatical, is offered every other year to professional artists to explore their artistry, refresh their creativity, and recharge their spirit.

Dianna traveled to Italy to study accordion repair, visiting places where the traditions of the accordion have been preserved, and visited accordion factories and shops where accordions are made and sold. Dianna wanted to pursue a new opportunity within the music field, accordion repair. For many years, she has been interested in instrument mechanics. In the US, there are very few opportunities to study accordion repair. Some accordion stores offer apprenticeships, but you must travel to them, and commit to multiple year contracts. The Accordion Craft Academy - www.accordioncraftacademy.com - offers three courses of accordion repair tuning. She attended their five day first tier and second tier courses where she learned reed replacements, tunings, and more. The courses take place in Calstefidardo, Italy, a city that is known as the international capital of accordion builders. A small company in Calstefidaro made her own accordion that she plays on, a Siwa and Figli. She also visited some of the many accordion factories that are in Calstefidaro. She was able to study with some of the best accordion repair and builders in Italy and take that knowledge back to Indiana with her to repair accordions in the Midwest.

For the second part of the fellowship, Dianna wanted to explore her grandfather’s Balkan roots in Croatia and spend time in the areas where her great-grandfather emigrated from. She had her first music lesson from her grandfather, whose parents emigrated from Croatia and Slovenia. She had some old letters written from her great-grandfather’s nephew, Vojo, and other family and friends, that her grandmother had given her a few years before. She used the fellowship as an opportunity to get the letter’s translated and was able to find her family in Croatia and meet many members of her family. Not since her great-grandfather left Croatia did the Croatia family and the US family talk or meet with each other. Much of Dianna’s love of eastern European music comes from her exploration of her family history so it was a special moment when she got to meet her family for the first time in Croatia.

This fellowship is made possible with support by the Indianapolis Arts Council.

This fellowship is made possible with support by the Indianapolis Arts Council.

Individual Artist Grant 2017 - New York City Jazz

Dianna flew to New York City to study jazz music at a five-day jazz workshop at the New York Jazz Academy. Throughout the summer, each week the academy holds five-day intensive workshops for teens and adults from all over the world. The academy offers daily classes, clinics, and performance activities. Its artistic faculty are New York jazz musicians who regularly perform around the city. The workshops also includes visits to New York jazz venues and opportunities to visit with important jazz musicians of the day.

Dianna studied jazz theory and styles, took melodic and small ensemble workshops, and took private lessons on her clarinet, voice, and piano. She studied with multiple teachers at the Academy including Michael Webster and Ron Wilkins. Dianna took the opportunity to network with many new professional musicians, took a six hour workshop with the living jazz legacy award winning Barry Harris, attended several jam sessions, and took every opportunity to challenge herself within the jazz world. She is grateful to the Indiana Arts Commission for this opportunity to study jazz in NYC and looks forward to bringing back many new ideas and inspiration to all her jazz projects in Indianapolis, such as her monthly gypsy jazz jam, the Dianna Davis ensemble, and the Naptown Necessities.

 

 

This activity is made possible with support by the Indiana Arts Commission.

This activity is made possible with support by the Indiana Arts Commission.

Arts in the Park 2017 Grant Project: Crafting Music in the Trees - Ouabache State Park

Dianna is a 2017 Arts in the Park Grantee. Her goal for Crafting Music in the Trees is to create a fun and engaging musical experience that have people gain confidence in their innate artistic ability, work creatively with others of different ethnic groups, ages and interests, create music in nature, explore how nature and music is connected, and have fun in a creative, collaborative endeavor.

She collaborated with nature interpreter Jennifer Amstutz to implement exciting, fun musical experiences for park visitors that complemented nature programming to attract people of all ages to the events. For the four days of music events, she lead one day of programming for Bison Day and then three additional days for different nature themes at the park.

This project provided four unique musical experiences in the park, engaging participants in learning about nature and bringing out their innate musical ability in a hands-on, creative way. The grant funds paid for a director to create and implement the programs, musical instruments, supplies to build musical instruments, and advertising.

Visitors to Ouabache State Park enjoyed creative fun-filled experiences while playing and singing about nature in the park - no experience or instruments was needed! All ages had fun celebrating nature and music through building instruments, singing or drumming.

This activity is made possible with support by the Indiana Arts Commission and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

This activity is made possible with support by the Indiana Arts Commission and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

This activity is made possible with support by the Indiana Arts Commission and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Arts in the Park 2016 Grant Project: Engaging Places and Emerging Music - Ouabache SP

Dianna is 2016 grant recipient of the Arts in the Park grant sponsored by the Indiana Arts Commission. This project created four music improvisation experiences, engaging people in seeing the park and their music ability in a new way.   This grant will pay to have a creative director, music facilitators, musical instruments, and advertising for these four music improvisation events at Ouabache State Park.  Vistors to Ouabache State Park created their own music concert through music improvisation led by trained facilitators - no experience  or instruments needed!  All ages had fun celebrating nature and music through singing or drumming. 

At the beginning of each event, an Ouabache State Park staff member spoke a few words about the specific location in the park or about nature.  These words about the natural environment set the tone of the music performance, whether they were joyful, somber, or lighthearted.  Next, a music facilitator will led everyone in a unique music event that encompassed the space, the emotions, and the people.   The music was singing or percussion and included the sounds of the natural world itself such as the wind blowing or a fire crackling in a fire pit.  
  
Participates needed no prior music experience; they just show up or wander into the event.  The act of participation builds community as we all contribute to the whole - without everyone participating, we wouldn’t have the performance.   Music doesn’t have to just be about entertainment – creating something together empowers people of all ages.  It builds confidence and Engaging Places and Emerging Music intentionally will work to create memories and positive experiences in nature that people will carry with them.  David Darling, the founder of the organization Music for People, states “there are no ‘unmusical’ people, only those with no musical experience”.  I believe each of us has the ability to be a part of that magic that occurs when we create art if we are given the opportunity.  At Engaging Places and Emerging Music, people will increase their own musical experience on a non-traditional stage, nature itself.   

The music facilitators for the events were Pam Blevins Hinkle and Sally Childs-Helton.  Pam Blevins Hinkle is the Director of the Spirit and Place Festival, instrumentalist, singer, choral and music conductor, and has been teaching guided music improvisation for over 10 years.   Sally Childs-Helton, is a percussionist, ethnomusicologist, music educator, and improvising musician, and has been teaching guided music improvisation for over 20 years.  

For hundreds of years, communities have gathered together, to celebrate life’s events in music. Some might have been paid, but most have gathered together to create community and to sing and play.  I feel like we have lost much of that connection with each other.  When we improvise music in the moment, we can create just the right sound and rhythm that will fit our collective emotions as a community.  I have improvised chants in front of hundreds of people, created a solo clarinet piece in a hushed room from nothing, and co-led an improvised boomwhacker and song opening piece at a TED-talk.  All of these experiences have taught me that people want to be engaged, and they want to capture that moment with just the right musical turn of the phrase.

This activity is made possible with support by the Indiana Arts Commission and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

This activity is made possible with support by the Indiana Arts Commission and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

This activity is made possible with support by the Indiana Arts Commission and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.