Vermont Arts Council announces Creation Grants to 23 outstanding artists

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Tue, 09/14/2021 - 12:53pm -- Denise Sortor

The Vermont Art Council announces the 23 recipients of its most sought-after award, the Creation Grant, which supports Vermont artists in creating new work.

Among this year’s winning proposals are works that span visual arts, literary arts, dance, music, film, and multidisciplinary fields, including a music video exploring unjust land ownership for African Americans; a nonfiction book tracing five generations beginning in Iran and ending in Vermont; a tintype photography series capturing Vermont women and aging; and several works exploring social justice themes.

Artistic excellence is the most important criteria in evaluating an application for this highly competitive award. A record 202 applications were received for the FY2022 program, collectively requesting a total of $808,000.

The Council typically has funding to support approximately 12-15% of requests for the annual grant. But thanks to the Vermont Community Foundation’s Arts Endowment Fund, along with generous contributions from Vermont Performance Lab and individual donors, the Council was able to provide eight additional Creation Grants this year.

Recipients were selected by two independent panels comprised of 28 practicing Vermont artists and arts professionals. Applicants could submit audio or video files for their proposals in place of written applications.

Of the 202 proposals, 129 were first-time applicants with 13 recommended for funding.

"The range of artistic talent in Vermont takes my breath away," said Vermont Arts Council Executive Director Karen Mittelman. "We are pleased that new partnerships and generous private donations -- so vital in this pandemic year -- have enabled us to support the creative endeavors of twenty-three outstanding artists."

The Creation Grant program has supported 163 Vermont artists since it began in 2009. Grant awards are $4,000, which the artist may use for time spent to develop new work, to purchase materials, or to rent equipment or space for the process. The award is only available to artists who have not received a Creation Grant within the last five years.

The Council's grant programs are made possible by support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the state of Vermont, and private donors.

For more information about the Creation Grant program, visit https://www.vermontartscouncil.org/grants/artists/creation.

FY2022 Creation Grant Recipients:

Kellam Ayres (Middlebury) to support the completion of a poetry manuscript titled “In the Cathedral of My Undoing”

Rita Banerjee (Montpelier) to support the creation of a memoir and manifesto of how female "cool" subverts social, sexual, and economic pressure

Francesca Blanchard (Burlington) to support the recording and releasing of a full-length concept album

Ann Dávila Cardinal (Montpelier) to support the creation of a middle grade novel based in Vermont with a Latinx main character

Rose Friedman/Modern Times Theater (East Hardwick) to support the creation of an original theater piece for touring to small venues

Jesse Kreitzer (Brattleboro) to support the creation of a storyboard animatic for the short dramatic film "Delta Bell"

Travis Laplante (Putney) to support the composition, performance, and recording of an album for tenor saxophone and string quartet

Jen Lazar (Burlington) to support the creation of a nonfiction book tracing five generations beginning in Iran and ending in Vermont

Nancy Winship Milliken (Charlotte) to support the creation of a limestone monument of natural field elements in an urban setting

Xander Naylor (Winooski) to support the creation of a music composition fusing jazz and Indian classical elements

Liam O'Connor-Genereaux (South Ryegate) to support the creation of a film entitled "Butterfly Queen"

Danielle O'Hallisey (Burlington) to support the recording and release of a composition/documentary entitled "Women of Aeronautics"

Rachel Portesi (Saxtons River) to support the creation of a series of photographs of fifty Vermont women in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond

Michael “Mikahely” Rakoto Razafy (Burlington) to support the completion and release of the artist's first US album

William Ransom (Norwich) to support the creation of an interactive sculpture/installation at the Brattleboro Museum

Jessica Raymond (Wilder) to support the creation of a new composition and Vermont virtual choir with hybrid live/video performance

Sonia Scherr (Norwich) to support the creation of the first draft of a novel about Jewish-Muslim ties in Morocco

Ruth Shafer (Brattleboro) to support the creation of a soft sculpture show exploring the relationships between the body and the home

Bronwyn Sims (Williamsville) to support the creation of a new devised physical theatre work about criminal justice

Rebecca Valley (Fairfax) to support the creation of a memoir about the death of the artist's uncle, a mentally ill prisoner in Vermont

Irene “KeruBo” Webster (Winooski) to support the creation of a video script involving music to bring awareness about the unjust loss of land ownership for African Americans

Diana Whitney (Brattleboro) to support the creation of a poetry collection about girls, rape culture, and excavating female adolescence

Sam Wyatt (Lincoln) to support the creation of paintings which depict graffiti as a reflection of this moment in our culture

Photos: Michael “Mikahely” Rakoto Razafy of Burlington was awarded a Creation Grant to support the completion and release of the artist's first US album. Credit: Luke Awtry. Ann Dávila Cardinal of Montpelier was awarded a Creation Grant to support writing a middle grade novel based in Vermont with a Latinx main character. Credit: Carlos Cardinal

About the Vermont Arts Council

The Vermont Arts Council envisions a Vermont where all people have access to the arts and creativity in their lives, education, and communities. Engagement with the arts transforms individuals, connects us more deeply to each other, energizes the economy, and sustains the vibrant cultural landscape that makes Vermont a great place to live. Since 1965, the Council has been the state's primary provider of funding, advocacy, and information for the arts in Vermont. Learn more at vermontartscouncil.org