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Loghaven Artist Residency Launches with Announcement of Inaugural Artists and Completion of 90-Acre Campus


Loghaven Artist Residency, a newly created residency for emerging and established artists in the fields of visual art, dance, music, writing, theater, and interdisciplinary work, announces its first group of artists and the completion of its campus. The launch of Loghaven Artist Residency is the culmination of years of planning, research, design, and input from artists, arts leaders, and the Alliance of Artist Communities.

Loghaven Artist Residency, a newly created residency for emerging and established artists in the fields of visual art, dance, music, writing, theater, and interdisciplinary work, announces its first group of artists and the completion of its campus. The launch of Loghaven Artist Residency is the culmination of years of planning, research, design, and input from artists, arts leaders, and the Alliance of Artist Communities.

The residency features artist housing in historic, rehabilitated log cabins, as well as a newly constructed Performing Arts Studio and Visual Arts Studio, and a 3,900-square-foot Gateway Building with additional studio space and facilities for artists—all located on 90 acres of woodland, minutes from downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. Loghaven Artist Residency offers:

  • Facilities for dancers and theater makers—there are limited residencies that offer dancers and theater makers the facilities that are essential for their work. Loghaven has a professionally designed Performing Arts Studio and a Multidisciplinary Studio to support these practitioners.
  • Spaces for collaborative artist groups—the number of artists working collaboratively has grown significantly, and few residences are designed to accommodate this type of practice. Loghaven’s studio spaces serve the needs of collaborative teams: all are large enough for group work, and three of the artist cabins are suited for an intensive live/work experience for a collaborative team.
  • A stipend grant—Loghaven provides artists a weekly stipend grant for art supplies and other expenses associated with completing the residency. The stipend grant advances Loghaven’s commitment to removing financial barriers for artists and allowing the broadest possible participation in the residency.
  • Ongoing support for Loghaven Artist Fellows—Loghaven supports artists during and after their residencies—helping to advance recognition of their work and fostering their careers over time. As just one part of this ongoing support, Loghaven Fellows are eligible for the annual Loghaven Prize of $25,000, as well as the opportunity to return to Loghaven for future sessions, including a two-week, alumni-only residency. Loghaven will launch a competitive microgrant program for Fellows in the near future, to provide financial support after their residencies.
  • Diverse cohorts of artists—Loghaven is dedicated to supporting diverse cohorts of artists. The first group of artist residents includes individuals with a range of backgrounds, disciplines, and ages—from emerging artists in their 20s to established artists in their 80s; practitioners who are African American, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian; artists who are LGBTQ+ or whose work addresses LGBTQ+ themes; artists working in a range of disciplines across a variety of media with both traditional and multidisciplinary practices.

The Loghaven Artist Residency is fully funded by the Aslan Foundation.

“There has been a tremendous increase in the number of qualified artists who apply for residencies, with the number of applicants far exceeding the capacity of existing residencies,” said Sarah Swinford, the Director of Loghaven Artist Residency, who served for nearly a decade at the Wexner Center for the Arts before joining Loghaven. “To serve this need, we have meticulously planned every detail of Loghaven Artist Residency, from the sprung floor in the new Performing Arts Studio and the types of equipment available for visual artists, to financial support for travel and freight, as well as a weekly stipend grant. This residency gives artists the opportunity to take risks, to hone or to expand their practice, and to concentrate exclusively on their work. There is one principle that has guided the years of work and every decision in creating this artist residency: we will measure Loghaven’s success by the success of its artists.”

Knoxville is home to Big Ears, an annual music festival that brings artists and audiences together to create and share transformative experiences. Big Ears has been described as “the most open-minded” and “widest angle” music gathering in the country, crossing boundaries of musical genres and disciplines, and featuring more than 100 presentations of music, film, and art each year. Big Ears has helped make Knoxville a place for artists to experiment, create, and take risks; Loghaven complements and expands this contribution to the national and international cultural ecology. Loghaven has hosted performances by Big Ears musicians, and the festival itself is another opportunity for inspiration and exchange for Loghaven artists in session during the event. The Aslan Foundation is the largest supporter of the Big Ears Festival as well as the sole supporter of the Loghaven Artist Residency.

“We believe that the arts are integral to the human experience, the health of our communities, and to a vibrant civic society,” said Andrea Bailey, Executive Director of the Aslan Foundation. “Loghaven is designed to have an enduring impact on artists’ careers. We look forward to bringing together a community of artists who will make critical contributions to contemporary art practice and discourse, and to communities across the country and the globe.”

Artists Participating in Loghaven Residencies during 2020-2021 season (by invitation):


  • Ann Carlson is a dancer, choreographer, and performance artist who uses solo and ensemble dance, site-specific performance projects, and performance video to explore contemporary social issues. Some of Carlson’s awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship, and a CalArts/Herb Alpert Award.
  • Sebastián Escalona is an artist, scholar, and leading theatrical set designer. In his practice, he blends traditional disciplines with experimental hybrid languages to explore such concepts as bodies, landscape, and memory. His work has been selected by Marina Abramović and Robert Wilson to reside in The Watermill Center, New York. Recently, his investigations have been part of Bauhaus 100 years and he has represented Chile in the Prague Quadrennial as a set designer.
  • Rudy Gerson & Jonathan González, González works at the intersections of performance, text, sculpture, and time-based media, whileGerson’s practice reflects the intersections of his backgrounds in applied theatre, site-specific performance, and ethnography. The two artists collaborated on Lucifer Landing I & II, presented at MoMA PS1 and the Abrons Arts Center in 2019
  • NIC Kay is an interdisciplinary artist and their performances and performative spaces explore the act and process of moving the change of place, production of space, position, and the clarity/meaning gleaned from shifting perspective. NIC was a performance artist in residence at the Museum of Art and Design and a resident artist at Pioneer Works.

Visual Arts

  • Aldwyth has for decades been creating intricate, often epic-scale collages and assemblages that utilize art history, technology, and everything in-between to not only fuel her work, but also to expand her knowledge. The recipient of various residences and fellowships, Aldwyth strives to create and illustrate the art of circumstance and wit through any medium she can. Her art combines her experience of painting, bricolage, and collage, and—now at the age of 84—she is adding printmaking to her array of multimedia works.
  • Calvin Brett’s work documents an African American identity shifting through the world today, considering its relationship to society and the environment. Inspired by nature, folk traditions, and the desire to reimagine these traditions in a contemporary context, his work employs re-use as a way of intuiting the creative potential of all things. His work has been exhibited in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and he has completed residencies at Elsewhere Museum, Perkins and Will, the Chautauqua Institution, and Liberty Arts.
  • Sandra Brewster is a Canadian visual artist based in Toronto. Her work engages notions of identity, representation, and memory, centering a Black presence. The daughter of Guyanese-born parents, she is especially attuned to the experiences of people of Caribbean heritage and their ongoing relationships with back home. Brewster’s work has been featured in the Art Gallery of Ontario (2019-2020). She is the 2018 recipient of the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts Artist Prize, and her exhibition It’s all a blur… received the Gattuso Prize for outstanding Featured Exhibition of CONTACT Photography Festival 2017.
  • Tia-Simone Gardner is an interdisciplinary artist and Black feminist scholar from Birmingham, Alabama whose practice draws on the colonial and labor histories embedded in the Southern landscape. Using photography, video, and drawing, her work builds on ideas of geography, mobility, and stasis—particularly in relation to creating a Black sense of place. Gardner participated as a Studio Fellow in the Whitney Independent Study Program and has held residencies at IASPIS in Stockholm, Sweden, and the Center for Photography in Woodstock, New York.
  • Mark Steven Greenfield focuses on the complex issues surrounding the African American experience in contemporary society. Through his work, Greenfield explores the psychological dimension of African American stereotypes, little known histories and spiritual practices, reimagined religious iconography, and subconscious mental cartography. He is a recipient of the L.A. Artcore Crystal Award, Los Angeles Artist Laboratory Fellowship Grant, City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Fellowship, and California Community Foundation Artist Fellowship.
  • Daniel McCormick & Mary O’Brien are interdisciplinary artists practicing in the fields of sculptural installation, environmental design, and non-fiction literature. They collaborate to bring both an ecological and public art trajectory to their work. They have received awards from National Endowment for the Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, Center for Cultural Innovation, McColl Center for Visual Art, Marin Arts Council, Puffin Foundation, and George Sugarman Foundation.
  • Jennifer Wen Ma’s interdisciplinary practice bridges varied media including installation, drawing, video, public art, design, performance, and theatre. Ma received an Emmy for the U.S. broadcast of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, for which she was on the core creative team and the chief designer for visual and special effects. She has developed projects for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cass Sculpture Foundation, Qatar Museums, Lincoln Center Festival, Vancouver Art Gallery, Guggenheim Bilbao, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the National Art Museum of China, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, and the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, among others.
  • Wendy Red Star was raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, and her work is informed both by her cultural heritage and her engagement with many forms of creative expression, including photography, sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance. An avid researcher of archives and historical narratives, Red Star seeks to incorporate and recast her research, offering new and unexpected perspectives in her work that are simultaneously inquisitive, witty, and unsettling. Red Star holds a BFA from Montana State University, Bozeman, and an MFA in sculpture from University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Rhonda Wheatley is a multidisciplinary artist whose sculptures, paintings, written works, and interactive performance projects explore healing, consciousness expansion, and transformation. She has received awards, grants, and recognitions from institutions such as Chicago Artist Coalition, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and Ragdale Foundation. She has exhibited at Hyde Park Art Center, David Weinberg Gallery, and Walter Maciel Gallery in Los Angeles, and has performed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Music Composition

  • Lara Downes is a pianist and activist whose musical roadmap seeks inspiration from the legacies of history, family, and collective memory. Downes’ work is noted for bringing attention to the underrepresented and forgotten. A chart-topping recording artist, she has collaborated with artists including Judy Collins, Rhiannon Giddens, Yo-Yo Ma, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove. Her latest recording "Some Of These Days" is a collection of spirituals and freedom songs that celebrate the resistance and persistence at the heart of American history.
  • Angélica Negrón is a composer and multi-instrumentalist who writes music for accordions, toys, and electronics as well as chamber ensembles and orchestras, creating intricate—yet simple—narratives that evoke intangible moments in time. Negrón has been commissioned by the Albany Symphony, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and the American Composers Orchestra. Her music has been performed at the Kennedy Center, the Ecstatic Music Festival, Bang on a Can Marathon, and the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial.
  • Daniel Bernard Roumain, known for his signature violin sounds infused with a myriad of electronic, urban, and African American music influences, is a composer, performer, educator, and activist. Among his achievements are an Emmy for Outstanding Musical Composition, ranking #3 in The New York Times Top 10 Classical Moments of 2003, an American Music Center Grant Award, a Creative Capital Award, and a Van Lier Fellowship.
  • Craig Shepard is a composer and trombonist who creates music related to stillness, inviting people to live in the beauty of the sounds that they move through in their day-to-day lives. Shepard’s work has been featured at the Oklahoma Contemporary, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Moments Musicaux Aarau, the Akademie der Künste Berlin, the Kunstraum Düsseldorf, Experimental Intermedia New York, Roulette NYC, The Stone NYC, Issue Project Room Brooklyn, Real Art Ways in Hartford, and the Deep Listening Center in Kingston, New York. Shepard has also performed at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.


  • Kleaver Cruz is an Uptown native of NYC, creative, writer, and educator. His work has been featured in various publications in print and online. Cruz has created work and been in community with folks across the African Diaspora in South Africa, the Netherlands, Brazil, and other countries. He is the creator of The Black Joy Project, a digital and real-world affirmation that Black joy is resistance.
  • Amy Lam is a contributing editor and co-host of Backtalk podcast at Bitch Media, the deputy editor at diaCRITICS, and the former editorial lead at On She Goes, which explores the world of women of color and travel. She is a Kundiman Fellow and received an MFA from the University of Mississippi where she was the John & Renee Grisham Fellow. She has been awarded scholarships from the Fine Arts Work Center and Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. Her work has appeared and is forthcoming in Tin House, Gay Mag, Indiana Review, Pacifica Literary Review, Utne Reader, and Papercutter.

The artists noted above were nominated by a national committee of artists, curators, performers, and other arts professionals. Loghaven’s first residency session begins on February 3, 2020, with its nomination-only sessions continuing through February 2021. On June 1, 2020, Loghaven will begin an open call for applications, accepting submissions from emerging and established artists across the U.S. and world who are 21 or older. The chief criteria for selection are artistic excellence and creative potential.

Early Advisors

Early advisors who have helped provide counsel in the development of Loghaven Artist Residency include artists, performers, writers, curators, scholars, consultants, and arts administrators with decades of experience across multiple arts disciplines and sectors.

  • Eve Beglarian—Beglarian’s chamber, choral, and orchestral music has been commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the American Composers Orchestra, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, among many others.
  • Afa Dworkin—Named one of Musical America’s Top 30 Influencers in the nation and one of Detroit Crain’s 40 Under 40, Dworkin is a musical thought leader and cross-sector strategist driving national programming that promotes diversity in classical music.
  • Suzanne Fetscher—Fetscher has 25 years of experience as an executive director of international residency programs. She served as Founding President and CEO of McColl Center for Art + Innovation in Charlotte, North Carolina and is now an independent cultural nonprofit consultant.
  • Olga Garay-English—Garay-English is an arts consultant with projects in California, nationally, and internationally. For the past three years she was the Executive Director of the John Anson Ford Theatres and was previously the Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA). She served as Founding Program Director for the Arts for the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, one of the largest national arts funders in the United States.
  • Tempestt Hazel—Hazel is a writer, curator, and founder of Sixty Inches From Center, a Chicago-based arts publication and archiving initiative that supports writing and artistic practices across the Midwest. She is also the Arts Program Officer at the Field Foundation of Illinois.
  • Lisa Funderburke Hoffman—Funderburke Hoffman is Executive Director of the Alliance of Artists Communities. She works with residencies, foundations, and other non-profits on improving the efficacy of teams and programs. She has held leadership posts at McColl Center for Art + Innovation and the Charlotte Nature Museum, and currently serves on a variety of committees and boards for organizations including Grantmakers in the Arts, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and the Performing Arts Alliance.
  • Kiese Laymon—Laymon is the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He served as the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Nonfiction at the University of Iowa in fall 2017. Laymon is the author of the novel, Long Division; a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America; and Heavy: An American Memoir.
  • Sharon M. Louden—Louden is an artist, educator, advocate for artists, editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books, and the Artistic Director of the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution. Louden's work is held in public and private collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art, and Yale University Art Gallery, among others.
  • Ali Rosa-Salas—As Director of Programming at Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement, Ali Rosa-Salas develops the Center’s live programming, exhibitions, and residencies. As an independent curator, she has produced visual art exhibitions, performances, and public programs with the American Realness Festival, AFROPUNK, Barnard Center for Research on Women, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Danspace Project, DISCWOMAN, Knockdown Center, MoCADA, Weeksville Heritage Center, and more.
  • Mark Sloan—Sloan has been the Director and Chief Curator of the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at the College of Charleston since 1994. In his 34-year career, he has organized hundreds of exhibitions, ranging from contemporary Japanese installation art to 19th-century Baluchi tribal weavings.

Sarah Swinford, Director of Loghaven Artist Residency

Prior to joining Loghaven, Sarah Swinford organized residencies with artists including SITI Company, Young Jean Lee, Bebe Miller Company, Ann Hamilton, Jason Moran, and Faye Driscoll. She spent 10 years working closely with artists on residencies, performances, and workshops at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. She has helped implement and plan many long and short-term residencies, facilitated world premieres of new work, and presented over 300 unique performances.

Architecture, Buildings, and Natural Environment

Loghaven partnered with Sanders Pace Architecture for the rehabilitation of the historic log cabins on its campus and the design of three new structures: the Visual Arts Studio, the Performing Arts Studio, and the Gateway Building, which serves as a central gathering place for resident artists and features additional studio space and facilities.

The team painstakingly worked on the log cabins that gave Loghaven its name, so that they could serve as artist living spaces. The five cabins are on a private, tree-shaded road and each has its original logs, a working fireplace, a porch or balcony, and artist working spaces. Kitchens and bathrooms have been modernized with sensitivity to historic preservation, and all cabins have amenities to ensure a fostering living and working environment. Working alongside Sanders Pace Architecture were three specialty consultants: Acoustic Distinctions (New York, NY), specializing in acoustics and audiovisual design; Sighte Studio (New York, NY), focusing on lighting; and Smith Seckman Reid (Nashville, TN), consulting on sustainability and MEP.

The 3,900-square-foot Gateway Building has a Multidisciplinary Studio, a professionally designed audiovisual and acoustics system, a range of equipment for artists to use in creating new work, and a dining area for communal meals. The two free-standing, cantilevered artist studios are designed to “float” over the ground with eight-foot-tall windows looking out onto the adjacent hillside. The Performing Arts Studio features an 860-square-foot sprung floor, a professionally designed sound system, and an abundance of natural light. The Visual Arts Studio has both natural and directional light, a separate wet area, an enlarged loading door, and equipment for creating a range of different work.

The new structures built at Loghaven have been designed to enter a dialogue with both the natural environment and the historic cabins. The Gateway Building has a similar visual language to the nearby cabins, elevating traditional building materials to create a restrained and harmonious contemporary addition to the campus. The placement of the Gateway Building was precisely designed to ensure the root system of adjacent trees would not be disturbed, and the cantilevered artist studios allow surrounding plant life to thrive. All of the new buildings have expansive views of Loghaven’s grounds.

The team has dedicated equal time and care to Loghaven’s natural environment. Over the decades the native flora on the site had been squeezed out by invasive plants that in some places became so dense that walking through parts of the grounds was nearly impossible. Loghaven partnered with a local arborist as part of a decade-long project to restore the surrounding woodlands. Through enormous efforts by the Loghaven property team, the invasive plants around the cabins have been removed, native trees and plants are thriving, and the natural springs on the site have been protected.


While archaeological excavations reveal that humans have inhabited the Loghaven area for 9,000 years, the history of the Loghaven community dates back to 1915, when Knoxville resident Martha (“Myssie”) Thompson acquired her first three acres of land along a ridge in South Knoxville. Although new industries were booming in the city, this high ridge remained isolated and wooded—the perfect spot for Thompson’s innovative idea.

Thompson hoped to support her family by constructing rental homes. Between 1932 and 1935, during the Great Depression, she labored alongside a local carpenter to design and build log cabins on what she called “the hill.” This cluster of homes became “Log Haven”: a community for Thompson, her family, and many unconventional tenants. Early occupants included Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) workers building the nearby Norris Dam; Alfred Clauss, a TVA exhibit director and architect; radio personality Lowell Blanchard; as well as Knoxville News-Sentinel columnist Bert Vincent, known for his popular column “Strolling.” Later, Loghaven became home to professors and their families, followed by students. As one University of Tennessee student recalls from the 1960s: “Loghaven was a place everyone dreamed of living. I tried to get in and couldn’t.” In 1978 Chris Whittle, along with his partners in the 13-30 Corporation Phillip Moffitt and Edward Smith, formed a partnership called “The Loghaven Community.” From the woods of Loghaven, they built a publishing empire. 13-30 Corporation acquired Esquire magazine in 1979 and had 600 employees by 1986. Many of the early employees lived at Loghaven. One such resident referred to it as a “domicile for various bohemian-outdoorsy types.”

In 2005, a developer purchased the site with the intention of building condominiums. Loghaven residents rallied to save the community from destruction. Forming the Friends of Loghaven, they posted handmade signs reading: “Save Loghaven” and “Greedy Developers Not Welcome Here.” The grassroots movement prompted the city council to table rezoning, which stalled development but left Loghaven with an uncertain future.

In 2007, Jim and Lindsay McDonough, board members of the Aslan Foundation, visited Loghaven and learned of its potential demise. They became dedicated to saving it from destruction. Recognizing the property as an essential part of Knoxville’s cultural heritage, the Aslan Foundation purchased Loghaven in 2008. Since Loghaven’s cabins had long been a retreat for unconventional, creative people, the Aslan Foundation determined that an artist residency was the ideal use for the site.


Loghaven is minutes from the center of Knoxville, where historic buildings frame a walkable downtown with landmark theaters and newly constructed music venues, a robust culinary scene including a James Beard Award winning chef, as well as locally owned breweries, shops, and studios lining the streets and extending into nearby neighborhoods. In contrast to many other flourishing cities in the South, Knoxville has grown and evolved while remaining livable and affordable.

More details on Loghaven Artist Residency will be announced in the coming months. For more information on Loghaven, visit www.loghaven.org or follow the residency on social media:

Twitter: @LoghavenAR

Facebook: @Loghaven Artist Residency

Instagram: @loghavenartistresidency


Loghaven Artist Residency provides artists with vital financial resources, an inspiring environment, professionally designed facilities, dedicated staff, and the time and space to create new work. Loghaven welcomes emerging and established musicians, writers, composers, visual and multidisciplinary artists, dancers, and theater makers of all backgrounds. Located on 90 acres of woodland minutes from downtown Knoxville, Tennessee, Loghaven combines the tranquility, privacy, and space of a natural environment with easy access to a vibrant urban center.


Loghaven is funded by the Aslan Foundation, a Knoxville-based philanthropy established in 1994 by attorney Lindsay Young. The foundation’s funding priorities include arts and culture, historic preservation, animal welfare, land conservation, outdoor recreation, and advancing livability in Knoxville. The foundation works to strengthen the greater Knoxville community through foundation projects, public-private partnerships, and grantmaking. In addition to Loghaven Artist Residency, foundation projects and public-private partnerships have included restoring historic structures, building parks, and managing large-scale woodland restoration. The foundation’s grantmaking focuses on capacity building and has led to leaps forward in programming and sustainability for organizations such as Big Ears Festival, Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Young Williams Animal Center, Cancer Support Community, Knoxville Museum of Art, Knox Heritage, Knoxville Opera, and Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.