An award-winning guitarist from Northern Illinois,Jim Kanas served as Benedictine's Artist in Residence in spring 2012. Kanas is an American folk musician, jazz guitarist and producer with the Illinois Arts Council's Arts Tour program. As a teenager, he studied classical music and jazz improvisation and has since broadened his performance base to include pedal steel guitar, fiddle, banjo, harmonica, mandolin, dobro and vocals. In addition to regional touring as a sideman with many country-oriented groups, Kanas's professional collaborations have included concerts, recordings and/or performances with a wide variety of Midwest musicians. He is an Illinois Arts Council Artstour artist and performs and records regularly as a soloist (singer/multi-instrumentalist), with the Jim Kanas Trio (folk/bluegrass/western swing), and with the Jim Kanas Jazz Quartet.
In spring 2011, novelist and short story writer Billy Lombardo came to Benedictine to serve as the sixth artist sponsored by the Artist in Residence program. Born and raised in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood, Lombardo is the author of The Logic of a Rose: Chicago Stories, a Chicago Tribune Best Fiction of 2005 selection;How to Hold a Woman, a book of poetry/prose;Meanwhile, Roxy Mourns;and The Man with Two Arms. He is also the co-founder and artistic director of Polyphony H.S., a student-run national literary magazine for high school writers and editors. In addition to teaching a course on short fiction, Lombardo read selections from his work at an intimate literary event, demonstrating why, as poet and 2008 Artist-in-Residence Marc Kelly Smith has said, "the only thing better than reading these tales is hearing Billy's voice bring them to life."
Photographer John Sevigny served as Benedictine's 2010 Artist-in-Residence, teaching a course called "Social Documentary Photography in the Digital Age." In addition to introducing students to the techniques of documentary photography, Sevigny discussed his experiences as an Associated Press writer and photographer working along the US/Mexico border regions of Texas, as well as his experiences working with immigrants in Imokkalee, Florida, and in the fields of northern Mexico working with migrants at the Archdiocese of Saltillo and Monterrey. His residency culminated in a month-long campus exhibition of photography produced by students in the class, along with samples of his own work.
The sounds of the blues floated through the hallways of Benedictine in March and April 2009, as the University welcomed critically acclaimed bluesman Fruteland Jackson to campus as its latest Artist-in-Residence.Jackson specializes in performing acoustic blues—from contemporary to traditional blues, from the blues of early field-holler songs and work songs to Delta and Piedmont Blues—as well as his own original works. While at Benedictine, Jackson offered a workshop on blues history and performance, providing students with the opportunity to learn to play blues guitar and blues harmonica. In late April 2009, Jackson's students showed off what they had learned in a performance at the Coal Ben;and, at the conclusion of his residency, Jackson himself took the stage, treating the University community to a thrilling blues performance.
In spring 2008, Benedictine's Artist-in-Residence program welcomed to campus Marc Kelly Smith, founder of the poetry slam movement. Established by Smith in the mid-1980s to heighten public interest in poetry readings, slam poetry is the competitive form of poetry performance, one that has since evolved into an international art form emphasizing audience involvement and poetic excellence. During his time at Benedictine, Smith offered an eight-week workshop on slam poetry that culminated in a student performance of poetry written for the class.At the end of his residency, Smith also performed his acclaimed musical adaptation of Carl Sandburg's poetry and stories, "Sandburg to Smith," which combined live music by the Rootabaga Band with spoken-word performance. To learn more about Marc Kelly Smith, slam poetry, or places you can go to see slam poetry in Chicago, click here(opens in new browser window).
Corpus Delicti: Just Desserts
Local Infinities: Visual Theater