The Orange County Arts Commission announced this year's Grassroots Arts Program and Artist Project grant recipients last week.
This year, nearly $53,200 in grants was awarded to 22 individuals, 14 nonprofit organizations and two schools.
The commission created these grants to support artist-led nonprofit projects and programs that benefit the community. Grants are funded by the North Carolina Arts Council and the Orange County Board of County Commissioners.
Emily Cataneo, co-founder of the Redbud Writing Project and one of the grant recipients, said she will use her grant to offer a free writing workshop to Orange County community members through her adult writing school.
“It's really important to me to be able to offer creative writing instruction to everybody, not just people who can afford it,” she said.
Cataneo's workshop is focused on memoirs and will be offered online in mid-March. She said that her workshops usually meet for two hours one night a week over the course of six weeks.
“We don’t have people write something every week,” she said. “That tends to be a lot for beginner writers, or really for all writers. But everybody has the opportunity to turn in a memoir piece once during the workshop and get feedback from their classmates and from me.”
Artist Jerstin Crosby will use the grant he received towards Acid Rain, an artist-run video gallery he organized on West Franklin Street.
The gallery presents shows that are pre-announced on its social media accounts.
“We show one video by one artist or one film, and it loops,” he said. “So if the film is ten minutes long, it loops all night.”
Crosby said that he's been doing Acid Rain since 2008 when it began as a cable-access show. The project features a new artist every two months.
“Every video on the planet is online, all the time,” Crosby said. “[Acid Rain] is more intimate. It’s a reaction against the ubiquity of video content, so you have to show up in person.”
The project features artists from all over the world — not just Orange County. Crosby said that artists featured on Acid Rain also have the opportunity to “pass the mic” to another artist they know by giving them the space next.
The next show is this Friday at 6 p.m.
Sabine Gruffat, a professor of digital art and moving image at UNC, will use her grant to expand the types of media presented at the annual Cosmic Rays Film Festival to include VR and AR.
The festival features short films. It's been held annually since its founding in 2018, except in 2020 due to COVID-19, Gruffat said.
“This year, we're adding this whole other dimension, which is this digital exhibition that has VR and AR,” she said.
Gruffat said the VR and AR digital exhibit will be held from March 1 to April 2 at Peel Gallery in Carrboro leading up to the film festival.
The festival is free to the public and will take place from March 31 to April 2 in the Forest Theatre. The films are created by independent artists from North Carolina and all over the world.
Gruffat said her goal with the festival is to broaden people’s ideas of how art is made.
“One of the things that I'm interested in doing is promoting this idea that there's existing art to be made with newer technologies,” she said. “It still feels like people are very traditional in their art appreciation in North Carolina.”
According to the Orange County Arts Commission website, artists can reapply for the grant each year.
A compiled list of this year's Orange County Arts Commission grant recipients is available here.
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