Earlier this year, the City of Dallas, through the Office of Cultural Affairs, issued a call for applications for "Special Support Grants," by which an artist could receive up to $5,000 in financial support for a project that would "benefit the general public." It's the first instance in a while that the city has visibly invested in the arts, the doers, the makers, the creative class. Before my instinct to cheerlead the effort kicks in, let me simply say that this signals progress in the retention of Dallas artists. Particularly in the way that most of these projects rotate around community initiatives, events, documentation, interventions in public spaces, and, to the chagrin of the conservative tax payers, parties.
According to a statement issued this week, the first five recipients of these grants were whittled down from a paltry 32 applicants (c'mon, artists!!) to the final five, all of whom will receive the full $5K. The final number include a few of the loudest cultural voices in the city, which is great, and also proves that there is room for more noisemakers.
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"Although it barely scratches the surface of the total cost of Observe Dallas 2015, I am nonetheless grateful for it," says photographer Richard Andrew Sharum, one of the participants. "It serves as a victory for the arts community and hopefully it will further inspire others to act without hesitation."
Here are the winners, along with a description of their projects, as provided by the Office of Cultural Affairs (full disclosure, I am dating one of them).
" Richard Sharum - will take photographs of people and structure in Downtown Dallas which will be made into large prints that will be exhibited on the exteriors of buildings in downtown. (The first three are already up.)
Arthur Peña - to establish a music label called VICE PALACE which will focus on recording Dallas musicians and include two special events.
Cynthia Mulcahy - will produce a socially engaged public artwork called "Splendid Silent Sun" it will be installed in the lake at Kidd Springs Park.
Darryl Ratcliff - A social art event at the Zhulong Gallery in the Design District to help bridge the cultural divides. It will include several ethnically diverse bands and will include experimental film and video.
Ted Kincaid - A photographic project about the Great Trinity Forest that will become an exhibit.
The next call for applications will be on May 1, 2015 with a June 5 deadline. For more information contact Charla Sanderson: firstname.lastname@example.org"