Tuesday, May 14th, I attended the Town and County funding appeals session at the Teton County Commissioners chamber. Civic process is fascinating. That day the Cultural Council of Jackson Hole defended its appeal to both bodies for greater arts funding. I think it went well! With our ever-changing leadership, it’s difficult for new civic leaders to be up to speed on the Arts Council’s function. On Tuesday that role was clarified, I hope to the group’s benefit.
Many grant applicants receive funding from other sources. For the Arts Council, that’s not so. Town and County funding is their sole support. Cynthia Huyffer and Lisa Samford made oral presentations to the panel, making several points: Funding for the Arts Council has sunk 40% in recent years; “Americans for the Arts” comprehensive study of the economic impact of the arts here in Teton County stresses art’s key role in our community’s health; tourism is bolstered by a strong arts presence (true in EVERY city!); arts are not “icing on the cake”–they foster new ideas, keep cities exciting and dynamic, reflect history and new arts initiatives, are language tools, build self-esteem, create memorable high-impact experiences; and that the Cultural Council is a “re-granting” group. They use monies provided by Town and County to fund grant requests.
The Arts Council had, by far, the greatest number of supporters in the room. That sends a strong message in itself, doesn’t it? In addition to the speakers named above, these individuals were present: Cathy Wikoff, Alissa Davies, Emy diGrappa, Gary Silberberg, Carrie Geraci, Amanda Flosbach, Pontier Sackrey, Rachel Pettingill and Mary Lee White. Apologies if I’ve left any names out.
The Arts Council requested $50,000 from the County and $20,000 from the Town. Last year, total funding was approximately $34,000. As the group pointed out, that money has to be distributed, most often, to 20-25 arts groups approved for funding by the Arts Council.
Now that the Arts Council has made its appeal, it’s time for Jackson’s artists to send in their applications. These grants are available to arts and culture organizations as well as individual artists. Your project should be creative, dynamic and beneficial to a broad portion of the community. Ask yourself this: Would I feel confident presenting my request directly to the Town Council or Teton County Commissioners? How would they respond?
This is a two-way street, so read your application out loud to yourself. How does it sound? It’s a gift to have the Council go to bat for artists that may not wish to be in chambers; and our civic leaders, overwhelmed with agendas, recognize that the Cultural Council does a huge service by working with arts organizations directly.
Grants are now available on the Cultural Council of Jackson Hole website. Here are guidelines: The program distributes social service tax dollars from the Town of Jackson and Teton County for arts education, producing and presenting opportunities, and public projects by individual artists that have strong community benefit. Requests may be up to $6,000, and must be cash-matched at least 1:1 by each applicant. Applications are due June 1, 2013. No support will be provided to any entity already receiving public support from Town or County funds.
You can find Arts for All application forms, guidelines and budget at www.culturalcounciljh.org. Contact Alissa Davies at [email protected]. And Alissa: Thank you for your years of balanced, constant, thoughtful and energetic work on behalf of “Arts for All!” You are one of Jackson’s finest arts representatives.
Casey, get your gun! And your paints.
Casey Stout’s unique “belly art” and other creative pursuits were unknown to me until we talked last week during a break from her singing gig at MADE, in Gaslight Alley. I’m taking a moment here to direct you to her website, and show you her gun. There’s something about this painting that makes me smile; it has an ironic, Victorian aspect. Guns are Western, and as Casey says, one day she just had an image of this gun shooting a rose against a wallpaper backdrop and just had to paint it. And it’s great.
Casey’s working life is largely taken up by her role at the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce, but she’s got big art inclinations. Check out her Soul Spot Facebook page: www.facebook.com/soulspot. There you will find photo albums showcasing Casey’s body work and her paintings. She’s packin’ some heat! Contact Casey at 307.201.2303.
Workshop Note: Scott Christensen is truly one of this country’s most awarded, recognized and in-demand plein air painters. And he lives here. Well, he lives just over the hill, in Victor, Idaho. Christensen’s studio is there too, and this summer he is offering two painting workshop opportunities. An “Intensive” class takes place June 2-8th; and an “Advanced” workshop takes place July 21st-27th. You will, says Christensen, “walk away with a wealth of knowledge and a different perspective.”