Mentorship pair Charlene Diehl and Zachary Rushing took part in our 2021/2022 Professional Mentorship Program. Their focus was on grant writing, arts career management and administration. Together they worked on every step of the grant writing process, from researching granting bodies to writing an artist’s statement and submitting a grant. They also worked on creating a social media presence and a release plan for the music tracks Zachary had recorded.
How was your experience in the mentorship program? Why do you think this mentorship was valuable to you?
“Mentorship is so often random & accidental in the arts, so being able to connect in this sustained & structured way is a bonus. It’s an honour to have a chance to walk alongside bright, enthusiastic learners, & to realize also that my years in the trenches have value. I loved every minute.” -Charlene Diehl
“This mentorship provided me with the guidance and direction necessary to harness my skills and abilities and set them to work for myself. I acquired many new skills and ideas, but most importantly, I gained a life long friend in my mentor.” – Zachary Rushing
Charlene Diehl is a writer, editor, teacher, and performer, and since 2003 the Director of the Winnipeg International Writers Festival. She has published essays, poetry, non-fiction, reviews, interviews, and several chapbooks. Her book Out of Grief, Singing: A Memoir of Motherhood and Loss (Signature Editions, 2010) was shortlisted for two Manitoba Book Awards. Also a lover of jazz, she was the associate editor of dig! magazine for a dozen years, has performed original poetry with her own jazz ensemble, and now produces the Izzy Asper Jazz Performances series. In 2019, she received the Winnipeg Arts Council’s Making a Difference Award.
Zachary Rushing is an accomplished vocalist on the Canadian music scene. He has performed and taught musical theatre, pop, classical and more, though he is most at home with the jazz tradition and the Great American Songbook. His sound is influenced by Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Joni Mitchell and others, but his individual perspective gives him the ability to reinvent their traditions into something entirely new. Zachary enjoys pushing the limits of what it means to be a vocalist by exploring underrepresented work in the jazz canon, rearranging unconventional material for more traditional ensembles, and performing original music.