Announcing the 2020 Artist in Residence Project

Announcing the 2020 Artist in Residence Project

Folk Alliance International announces Artist In Residence project partnership between the International Rescue Committee and Denver-based musician Rebecca Folsom in an extended songwriting workshop with refugees.

June 20, 2019 – Denver – Folk Alliance International (FAI) marked World Refugee Day with the announcement that 2020’s Artist In Residence project will partner Denver-based musician Rebecca Folsom with the International Rescue Committee in Denver in an extended songwriting workshop with refugees.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future. Based in more than 40 countries and in 26 U.S. cities, the IRC’s work encompasses the continuum of the refugee experience, from flight to resettlement to integration. In 2018, the US offices of the IRC served 9,127 people with economic empowerment programs, assisted 2,175 asylum seekers, and resettled 5,374 refugees.

Rebecca Folsom is a multi-disciplinary artist with a 20-year national touring career. Known for her Appalachia and blues stylings, she has ten recordings to her credit and an upcoming album entitled Sanctuary. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, is an active exhibiting painter and has published two books of poetry. For over 25 years she has facilitated Vocal Freedom Trainings to assist individuals and groups to recover, empower, and express their authentic voice.

Working with the Psychosocial Support Program staff of the IRC in Denver, Folsom will lead the AIR project and facilitate an extended songwriting workshop with participating refugees. “In a time when divisiveness and marginalization have become a growing norm, it is a deep honor to explore and co-create a musical humanitarian bridge with the youth and adult asylum-seekers of IRC” stated artist Folsom.

“Through engagement in the AIR project, our clients will have the opportunity to bring forth their voices and stories–narratives of strength, resilience, and humanity that are far too often absent from the dialogue around in immigration,” said Jennifer Wilson, the IRC in Denver’s Executive Director. “We are thrilled to enter into this partnership, and look forward to the rich exchange that will unfold through the artistic process and in sharing the songs that result through this artistic collaboration.”

“The intent of this project is not to teach people how to write songs, but to support the musical expression of their human experience and perspective,” explained Aengus Finnan, Executive Director of Folk Alliance International.

The music created through the AIR project will be shared at Folk Alliance International’s 32nd annual conference on January 22-26, 2020, in New Orleans. The industry event draws 2,900 delegates representing 47 different countries and will be focused on Cultural Equity through its theme of The Story of People and Place.

Launched in 2015, the AIR program was created to foster cultural cross-pollination, diversify audiences, and nurture artistic growth by pairing folk musicians with institutions and community organizations through innovative partnerships. Past partnerships have included UNESCO, the WWI Museum, Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Police Department, and the Topeka Women’s Correctional Facility.

Artist In Residence Media Contact:

Kelly Dougherty / communications@folk.org / 816-221-3655
Communications Manager  / Folk Alliance International

ABOUT Folk Alliance International

FAI is an arts service member organization focused on the global preservation, presentation, and promotion of folk music through networking, education, and advocacy. FAI produces the world’s largest conference for the folk music genre, drawing over 2900 delegates representing 47 countries for a 5-day industry networking and showcase event. The 2020 edition takes place in New Orleans from January 22nd-26th. FAI also produces the International Folk Music Awards, the Louis J Meyers Music Camp, a Global Summit series, the Kansas City Folk Festival, Artists in the Schools outreach, and an Artist in Residence program.

FAI Website / Annual Report / Past AIR projects

ABOUT the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Denver

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development nongovernmental organization. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC provides emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution, or natural disaster. The IRC is currently working in about 40 countries and 26 U.S. cities where it resettles refugees and helps them become self-sufficient. It focuses mainly on health, education, economic wellbeing, power, and safety. The IRC in Denver is the IRC’s newest  U.S. office, having opened in late 2016. The IRC in Denver offers a holistic approach in response to needs identified by clients and the community through wrap-around programs and services such as initial reception and housing assistance, case management, cultural orientation, health navigation, psychosocial support, family stabilization, immigration legal assistance, job readiness, career counseling, health insurance literacy, financial capability, and targeted programs for survivors of torture, women, and youth.

Find out more about IRC through IRC’s Annual Report / IRC Denver (AIR Partner Office)

Contact: Lauren M. Leary, Development Coordinator / Lauren.Leary@rescue.org

ABOUT Rebecca Folsom

Rebecca Folsom is a Colorado-based multi-disciplinary artist with a 20-year national touring career. Known for her Appalachia and blues stylings, she has ten recordings to her credit and an upcoming album entitled Sanctuary. She has a BFA in Fine Arts, is an active exhibiting painter, and has published two books of poetry. For over 25 years she has facilitated Vocal Freedom Trainings to assist individuals and groups to recover, empower, and express their authentic voice.

www.rebeccafolsom.com