Grants and Fellowships
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.
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.