Grants for Nevada artists
Steven Seagraves is doing a few things at once. He’s in his studio at Wildflower Village, wedging (looks like kneading dough) a melon-sized lump of porcelain clay to remove the air bubbles so the finished piece won’t explode in the kiln.
He’s explaining how it took awhile, centuries, for Dutch potters to recreate the ancient Chinese process of getting zinc to crystallize in explosion-shaped designs on the surface of a pot. He’s pointing to failed glaze experiments—the glaze must be applied and fired just right to get the precise, psychedelic-yet-austere, amoeba-like shapes that are the trademark of Seagraves’ tall vases.
He is reminiscing about his old studio in Arizona and giving careful thought to his visitors’ music preference while he demonstrates how to make a vase on a potter’s wheel.
Managing an art career involves similar feats of multitasking.
“I know how to make pots, and I know how to formulate glazes,” says Seagraves, who turns out 1,000 or so saleable pots a year. “But when it comes to promoting myself …” he trails off.
It’s hard to switch gears between laboring in the studio and doing self-promotion on paper, but artists without a Rockefeller-sized trust fund have no choice.
Enter the Nevada Arts Council. Seagraves is one of 43 Nevada artists and groups who’ve hit a jackpot this year, the NAC’s Jackpot Grant, that is.
NAC Grants Coordinator Stacey Spain explains that the grant, up to $1,000, is a “sudden-opportunity grant for individual artists and arts organizations” in Nevada.
What does sudden opportunity mean? To Julie Lozada, of Dayton, it means presenting a performance of Andean folk musicians and poetry. To Tom Umholtz, of Las Vegas, it’s restoring his flood-damaged paintings. Jackpot Grant funds sent Reno’s Jennifer Baumer to a writer’s conference in Denver and gave the Capital City Arts Initiative of Carson City a leg up in presenting the Nevada Neighbors lecture series.
Seagraves plans to use his $900 award to help defray travel and exhibition expenses at the prestigious American Crafts Council exhibition in his hometown of Baltimore in February 2005.
NAC Jackpot Grant applicants are required to fill out a form online, then submit a written proposal, a detailed budget and supporting visual aids. Spain says it’s crucial to assemble a presentation that makes artistic intentions crystal clear to the review panel.
Sierra Arts, a privately funded organization, also awards grants to individual artists—visual, literary and performing—living within 100 miles of Reno. The Endowment Fund Grant, $1,000 for professional artists and $500 for student artists, is awarded based on artistic merit and past accomplishments, rather than a specific project. Submission requirements include a completed entry form, a sample of your artwork, an exhibition resume and an artist’s statement. Unlike the Jackpot Grant, the money may be spent at the recipient’s discretion. Occasionally, Sierra Arts selects an applicant from the pool to receive a $5,000 Rosemary McMillan Award for lifetime achievement.
The NAC’s Jackpot Grants are awarded four times a year. The next deadline, for projects occurring between April 1 and June 30, is Feb. 15. For an application, go to www.culturegrants-nv.org. The Sierra Arts Endowment Fund Grant is awarded annually, and the 2005 application deadline is April 8. Applications will be available in the spring. To request one, call Sierra Arts at 329-2787.