visual artist / Season 6 Imagery
Alyssa Grenning is a visual artist and designer based in southern New Hampshire. Since 2005, she has held various graphic design, illustration, and art direction roles—her current passions lying in narrative abstract forms and editorial illustration. For Palaver Strings' Season 6, Alyssa curated seven drawings that aim to create an intimate space where viewers can inhabit the softly dark mood inspired by the individual performance themes.
Graphic designer & Visual artist
Fiona Hilton is a Los Angeles-based plein air painter. When she is not prop painting objects for film and making typography murals for restaurants, she spends her time creating atmospheric seascape oil paintings. For Palaver Strings’ latest season, she utilizes a combination of her graphic design expertise and her painterly hand to create color theory-based illustrations. These designs for Season 5 were inspired by performances in Season 4, in which Palaver used color theory and specific color palettes for their ensemble's attire. The gestural ink drawings depict the orchestra's instruments in a manner that creates a vibrating effect, alluding to the dynamic nature of the performers onstage.
filmmaker / librivion music video, october 2018
Hil Steadman is a New York-based experimental filmmaker and photographer. A graduate of Bard College, she studied 16mm film with Peter Hutton and photography with Larry Fink. As a freelancer in NYC, Hil works on commercials, music videos, and feature films. Through her work, she combines political and social commentary with strong visual and rhythmic images. As the director of Palaver’s Piazzolla music video, Hil draws influence from magical realism, incorporating poetry, tango, and more modern styles of dance.
Director / Welcome Home Tour, November 2019
Marty Pottenger, http://www.martypottenger.com theater artist, playwright, and social practitioner. Founder of Art At Work (2007), a national initiative that increases cities’ resilience through strategic art projects and Executive Director of arts nonprofit Terra Moto Inc. Since 1975, her plays have toured the United States and Europe including #PhillySavesEarth (climate change/history/time travel/personal tragedies/2016/ Painted Bride); ABUNDANCE: America & Money (interviews with 30 multi-millionaires & 30 minimum wage-workers/2004/ NYC, Philadelphia, Seattle, Burlington, Houston, Providence, Chicago); City Water Tunnel #3 (Obie-award, story of the building of NYC’s water tunne/1998/Judith Anderson NYC + ICA, London); Radio Calls (with police officers after fatal shooting/2010/Portland ME); home land security (intimate & societal impacts of 9/11 performed by Portland’s Mayor, Fire Chief, Sudanese Refugee, NAACP President, Mi’kmag Tribal member/ 2006 / Portland ME); All The Way Home (performances by veterans – Iraq & Afghanistan – battling PTS/2016/Portland ME). A MacDowell Colony Fellow, she is the creator, playwright and Executive Producer of ‘MAINEUSA’ an intimate epic performance to fight climate destruction with the history of Maine from the Ice Age till now. http://www.maineusa.us Many of her projects and plays can be found on YouTube, as well as her TEDx talk. And grateful that her great great great grandparents had the good sense to move to Guilford Maine in 1809.
Speaker / Welcome Home Tour, November 2019
Kifah Abdulla is an artist, poet, writer, teacher, performer and activist. Born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. He completed a Bachelor’s Degree in biology at the university of baghdad. Abdulla spent over eight years as a prisoner of war in Iran and over twenty years as a refugee. He is the Arabic teacher at Southern Maine Community College”SMCC” and The Language Exchange, the Arabic calligraphy teacher at Maine College of Art”MECA/CS”. Abdulla has published his first book of poetry”Dead Still Dream” in Portland,ME in 2016. He is a member at Portland Public Art Committee”PPAC”, he performs his show “ Poetry and Music “ at WMPG, co-founder first Arabic learner project and website in Maine, mentor of a project young writers and leaders at The Telling Room, founder of first International Arabic language Festival in Portland ME. Abdulla is involved in many cultural and artistic projects, he has read his poetry and short stories with music”oud and cello” in many events and festivals and he has exhibited in many galleries in Maine.
OUd player / Welcome Home Tour, November 2019
Fiddler / Welcome Home Tour, November 2019
Jaige Trudel grew up studying classical violin and cello, and discovered traditional fiddle styles in her early teens. Since 2001, she has made her living performing at festivals, concert and dance venues, teaching music lessons, and giving workshops throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. She has toured extensively with the band Crowfoot, which she co-founded, and in recent years has maintained a busy touring schedule with her current project, Maivish. She is also a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, and specializes in working with musicians, dancers and artists. Jaige regularly composes music inspired by the traditional influences of her French, Irish and American heritage.
pianist / Welcome Home Tour, November 2019
Alex Wilder received his undergraduate degree in musical studies from Oberlin College and studied composition under Malcolm Brooks in Rockport, Maine. As a multi-instrumentalist and singer, Alex has performed with Maine groups including the Push Farther Project, Primo Cubano, the Right Track, and Oshima Brothers. With Documentary Songwriters, a non-profit, Alex writes collaborative songs based on participants’ spoken words. In 2017, he received a grant from Oberlin College to write documentary songs in Barcelona, Spain. He has produced recordings for Documentary Songwriters and recorded concerts for Palaver Strings, Bay Chamber Concerts, and Oberlin Conservatory, among others. Alex is a Franco-American descendant of the Vashon, Tardiff, Michaud, and Martin families and is an avid contra dancer. Alex’s mother, Pauline, grew up in Waterville, Maine listening to her French-speaking grandmother relate the oral history of the Acadians and their immigration to Maine. Through the Welcome Home tour, Alex hopes to further explore these roots and take part in honoring the diverse communities that make up Maine.
Speaker / Welcome Home Tour, November 2019
Rhea Côté Robbins was brought up bilingually in a Franco-American neighborhood in Waterville, Maine known as 'down the Plains.' She is the author of creative nonfiction, Wednesday’s Child and ‘down the Plains.’ Through her work and studies, she has had the luxury and opportunity to spend much time contemplating and researching what does it mean to be Franco-American and female in the U.S. She is a founder and Executive Director of the Franco-American Women's Institute which is an organization that promotes awareness about the contributions of the Franco-American women to the culture, their families and their communities. She developed and taught several courses for the University of Maine offered through the Franco-American, Women & Gender, and University Studies. Her writings and research is focused on the contributions of the Franco-American women in order to better inform the scholarship and creative works of the state of Maine and beyond.