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Dear Friend,

We hope you save the dates for the 2022 Artist Crawl featuring artists in southern Appalachia, taking place October 20–21! Also in this issue: Enjoy a celebration of T. Ayo Alston's contributions in dance, beadwork by Karen Ann Hoffman, music by Craig Taborn, and our interview with USA supporters Steve Martin and Amy Haddad. 


Beaded artwork with strawberries and dangling fringe.
Photo by Kelsie Herzog Photography.

Karen Ann Hoffman
2022 USA Fellow in Traditional Arts

Strawberry Beaded Sheath, 2022. 
Commissioned by United States Artists.



2022 Artist Crawl

For this year’s Artist Crawl on October 20–21, we’re thrilled to introduce you to our Fellows and other artists from the southern Appalachian region of our country. In focusing on this area, we will be highlighting a rich cultural heritage that may be unfamiliar to many. Struck by the beauty and vast array of artistry, the programming will capture the diversity of this region by featuring artists spanning multiple states, disciplines, and backgrounds. Anticipated events include studio visits with cross-disciplinary artist and quiltmaker Aaron McIntosh and ceramicist Michael Sherrill, a conversation between nonfiction writer Crystal Wilkinson and poet Rebecca Gayle Howell, and more!

Spots Are Limited! Please hold the dates and indicate your interest in attending by September 15 by emailing Jacqui Dumornay. If there are any dates/times of day that you are not able to attend, please let us know when you RSVP.

RSVP now!

More information  Artist Crawls are intimate gatherings in unique spaces for our supporters and friends to spark conversation and connection with USA Fellows. Due to COVID-19, we will be hosting Salons and studio visits virtually for the foreseeable future.


Photo by Sundjata Imhepi.

T. Ayo Alston

2022 USA Fellow
Dancer, Musician, and Educator

Watch now!

These short video clips offer a five-lens kaleidoscope of the multifaceted ways T. Ayo Alston has used and created work to foster community and highlight the strength of womxn.

More information  T. Ayo Alston (Dance, 2022) is a performing arts professional trained in traditional West African and Afro-Brazilian dance styles. Alston teaches and practices a signature theatrical style of performance with an aesthetic of traditional, contemporary dance, and common daily experiences. They have invested more than a decade in developing their skills by conducting research and performance training in various African countries. They are a skilled d’jembe, dundun, and kalimba musician, exhibiting a unique Doundance style.

Alston is the founder and executive artistic director for Ayodele Drum & Dance, a performance training organization created for womxn to affirm their self-confidence, strength, and artistic voice. Through this all-womxn nonprofit arts organization, they have built a strong artistic infrastructure that cultivates an intergenerational community of students and professional artists.

This Fellow’s award was generously supported by the Walder Foundation.


Photo by Bill Douthart.

Craig Taborn 


“‘Now In Hope’ was the final piece performed at a concert at the Vienna Konzerthaus in Austria in early March of 2020. It was the second encore, and I was moved to play a more lyrical tune after the sprawl and challenge that some of the earlier pieces of the evening had presented. The then-dawning pandemic had already brought some cancellations of other concerts. The following day, I was traveling to Rome for the tour's final date, which at the time I fully expected to be canceled as well. 

One of the gifts of improvised music is the possibility of creating works in and for a specific moment out of whole cloth. I recall creating this piece wanting to send the audience home with some healing sense of possibility in the face of unknown circumstances.”

—Craig Taborn

Listen now!

More information  Born in Minneapolis, Craig Taborn (Music, 2022) has been performing piano and electronic music in the jazz, improvisational, and creative music scene for over twenty-five years. He has experience composing for and performing in a wide variety of situations, including jazz, new music, electronic, rock, noise, and avant-garde contexts.

He is currently occupied creating and performing music for solo piano performance (Avenging Angel and the newly-released Shadow Plays), piano trio (Craig Taborn Trio), an electronic project (Junk Magic), the Daylight Ghosts quartet, a piano/drums/electronics duo with Dave King (Heroic Enthusiasts), and a new trio with Tomeka Reid and Ches Smith; he has also done piano duo collaborations with Vijay Iyer (The Transitory Poems), Kris Davis (Octopus), and Cory Smythe. In addition, he makes music as a member of the instrumental electronic art-pop group Golden Valley Is Now and performs frequently on solo electronics.

His conceptual work 60 x Sixty is now available for free worldwide at Taborn lives in Brooklyn.

This Fellow’s award was generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.



Photo courtesy of Steve Martin and Amy Haddad.

Steve Martin
and Amy Haddad


Of what contribution or achievement are you most proud?
Amy is most proud of her induction as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2019. Fellows are nursing leaders in education, management, practice, and research. Fellowship is more than recognition of one's accomplishments within the nursing profession. Academy Fellows also have a responsibility to contribute their time and energies to the Academy, and to engage with other health leaders outside the Academy in transforming America's health system.

Steve is most proud of his induction into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and becoming the Omaha Press Club’s “156th Face on the Barroom Floor” in 2018. Both honors came as Steve retired after a thirty-six-year business career building and leading various businesses in Omaha and regionally. Both honors are reminders for Steve of the businesses and jobs developed through his career and the impact those had on the employees, customers, and community.

How have the arts (music, visual arts, dance, literature, etc.) shaped your life?
Steve trained on the trumpet in high school and college and has always loved music and art. His early interests beyond music were in film, theater, and dance. In college, Steve was a four-year starting offensive lineman. Other than using dance to improve pass blocking, his dance skill development stalled. Later in life, Steve began to appreciate visual arts and sculpture and found everyday inspiration in how art informs self-perspective and the culture within an organization.

Amy has always loved the arts, especially literature and theater. Her parents encouraged participation in summer art classes as well as amateur theater on the stage and backstage from grade school through college. As far as the written word is concerned, Amy has always been an avid reader and sometime writer. She finally pursued an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University in Charlotte, NC, with a focus on poetry after she retired. Her first poetry collection was published by Backwaters Press in 2022.

Did you pick up any new hobbies during the pandemic?
Both of us spent more time outdoors on walks and working in our large yard and creative cooking during the pandemic. Steve developed a passion for learning to cook professionally and has recently enrolled in culinary school. Steve also focused on finding young businesses to invest in and completing the restoration of a 100-year-old log cabin purchased just prior to the pandemic.

Where is your favorite place to relax?
We love to relax in our unique log cabin home in Omaha that is located on the edge of a city park. The original cabin of cypress logs was built in 1928 with two chalet-style additions built behind the house in later years. The covered front porch is our warm weather retreat where we can watch a parade of runners, walkers, strollers, dogs, and others pass by. In the winter, we love to read and doze in front of the original fireplace in our two-story living room. We have had a second home in Chicago since 2008 and love to relax in our condominium overlooking Navy Pier.

More information  Making the world a better place is a theme that Amy Haddad and Steve Martin have embraced throughout the years, starting with their work to improve the delivery of healthcare. Each has an educational and professional background in the field. They retired a few years ago — Haddad from her post as a Creighton University professor and Martin from his position of CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska. Health care continues to be an important topic for them. Both Haddad and Martin have long histories of nonprofit service, and though the couple continues to support health-related causes, their philanthropic efforts of late have become more focused on the arts and education. The interconnectedness of the arts and strong communities isn’t lost on the couple. It’s part of what makes them proud to support the mission of United States Artists.


United States Artists (USA) is a national arts funding organization that relies on tax-deductible contributions to directly support today’s most compelling artists. To see a list of our generous donors, click here.


United States Artists

200 W Madison St, 3rd Fl
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 470-6325
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