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The Artist in Residence Program

Past Artists in Residence

2017 - Jamil Khoury

Jamil KhouryJamil Khoury is the Founding Artistic Director of Silk Road Rising. Promoting playwrights of Silk Road backgrounds (Asian and Middle Eastern). Khoury is a theatre producer, playwright, essayist, and filmmaker. His work focuses on Middle Eastern themes and questions of Diaspora. He is particularly interested in the intersections of culture, national identity, and citizenship, as well as the ever-evolving notions of Americanness. Khoury's newest play, Mosque Alert, received its professional world premiere at Silk Road Rising in spring 2016. The play grew out of an online interactive new play development and civic engagement project launched in 2011, exploring resistance to the building of mosques in communities across the U.S. Khoury holds a M.A. degree in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a B.S. degree in International Relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He is a Kellogg Executive Scholar from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

2014 - Emily Stein

2013 - Megan Schvaneveldt

Megan Schvaneveldt is a visual artist based out of Chicago, IL. She works in a variety of media including painting, photography and video and her work revolves around issues of balance, intimacy, visibility and camouflage. Megan received her BA in Studio Art from Wheaton College and her MFA in Art Theory in Practice from Northwestern University. Her work has been shown at the University of Cincinnati's Meyers Gallery, MGGM (Cincinnati), the Block Museum (Evanston), and MDWFair/Document (Chicago).

2012 - Jim Kanas

Jim KanasAn 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. Visit his press page

2011 - Billy Lombardo

Billy LombardoIn 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."

2010 - John Sevigny

John SevignyPhotographer 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. Visit his site.

2009 - Fruteland Jackson

Fruteland JacksonThe 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.

2008 - Marc Kelly Smith

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.

2007 - Corpus Delicti: Just Desserts

Local Infinities: Visual Theater


2006 - Cynthia Archer