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Karen Blessen, Local Art Hero, Needs Your Help to Land a Marigold Ideas for Good Grant

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2010 MasterMind Award Winners, Karen Blessen, submitted an idea back in June for one of six monthly Marigold Ideas for Good grants, which funds ideas to improve communities through art. And now she's a finalist.

Blesen made it through the initial judging period to become one of 15 "June" finalists. Polls are officially open for the public voting round, and will remain so through 6:59 p.m. local time on August 6, with the $5,000 grant recipient being announced "on or around" August 14.

Contestants -- all of whom must be over the age of 50 to qualify -- submit a series of essays during the months of April through September detailing ideas that "address a community, national or international social problem."

This is, of course, not Blessen's first "good idea." The Pulitzer Prize winner -- she was a member of a Dallas Morning News team that won the first Pulitzer for graphic art back in 1989 -- is active in a slew of local projects that have consistently enlivened and enriched the Dallas arts scene.

Most notably, she founded MasterPEACE: Young Artists Making a Kinder World, implemented in Dallas schools to teach nonviolence and social justice through art. Blessen's curriculum sends artists, musicians, actors, writers and yogis into classrooms with area fifth-graders to teach lessons on "Heroes of Peace," such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. The MasterPEACE program founded the basis for Blessen's Marigold proposal.

Vote once per day, by visiting this site and registering. And don't forget -- we want to see other Dallas artists doing good. If you're over 50 and have an idea that -- with the help of a little extra dough -- could help our city "be the change," submit it here through October.

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Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.