RAAC’s 2017 Claudia Mitchell grant winners

Barbara Black: ‘A healthy, vibrant community is enhanced by the arts’

The Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community (RAAC) announces 17 winners of the 2017 Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund Grants for Rappahannock artists and organizations.

In total, $43,500 was awarded. Grant amounts ranged from $500 to $5,000.

“It was a very competitive process again this year, with many excellent proposals,” commented RAAC Board President Matthew Black.

“In keeping with the vision of the Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund, the grants reward and encourage individual artists of all ages and county organizations who are working to foster the arts in Rappahannock,” explains a RAAC news release. “This year’s grants include a diversity of educational and performance projects, a variety of media, emerging and established artists, artistic and institutional development, arts programs within community-based organizations, and collaborative projects.”

Grant winners include Washington artist Kevin Adams for a public drawing and painting program as part of his residency this month in Shenandoah National Park; 1000 Faces Mask Theater, for creation of a new performance piece and public performance on September 23 in Castleton; Janet Kerig’s Arts & Crafts Camp for scholarships for kids at her multimedia camp at Hearthstone School this summer; and many others.

Winners will join the ranks of many other Mitchell Arts Fund Grant recipients.

Since 2011, RAAC and the Mitchell Arts Fund have aimed to support and encourage artists, organizations, and the arts in Rappahannock through building community. Over the years, RAAC has awarded local artists an impressive $160,000.

In an interview with the Rappahannock News, Mitchell Arts Fund chair Barbara Black suggested that the fund was created in response to two separate factors: in 2009, RAAC’s annual art tour began to make profits, causing the board to explore the possibility of establishing some type of arts fund; the generosity of long-time RAAC President Claudia Mitchell catalyzed this proposal.

Upon her passing, Mitchell left $10,000 to RAAC, earmarking the money for the support of the arts.

Black calls Mitchell a “ball-of-fire woman” — a woman whose commitment, energy, and devotion to the Rappahannock arts community have made a marked difference on the county.

Since Mitchell’s donation, the fund has been replenished through community donations and proceeds from RAAC programs.

As a result, artists can now apply for three types of grants from the Mitchell Fund. Most apply throughout the annual cycle, during which time the Mitchell Arts Fund requests proposals from the community. Others are approached by RAAC and the fund to initiate proposals. Still others apply through what RAAC calls “out of cycle grants” — proposals which, for one reason or another, cannot wait for approval during the regular grant cycle.

Regular cycle applications usually go out at the beginning of December and are due March 15.

This year, RAAC held its first-ever workshop reviewing guidelines for the grant proposal process. Black says that the purpose of the workshop was to increase transparency, help people understand the fund’s objectives, and explain how to draft a solid proposal.

In addition, each grantee is assigned a liaison from the committee during the application process. These liaisons help answer questions and forge relationships between the selection board and the potential grantees.

After all applications are submitted, the board selects winners based on creativity and quality of project, capacity to do the work, a need and a passion for the proposal, and residency in Rappahannock County.

All proposals are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but Black says the board often selects those whose work would benefit the community at large. In describing a former grant winner, Black says fondly, “I love seeing how the drum circle brings children and older people together. At a time when we need to find commonality, the arts is a place where we can do that.”

On Sunday, June 25, RAAC’s board and the Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund Committee will hold its annual Grant Give-Away Party for the 2017 Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund grantees. Black says the event will be a lovely opportunity for the grantees to form a community amongst themselves and for all to be inspired by the thriving arts community in Rappahannock county.

She emphasizes, “The arts are not elitist — everybody can be involved in the arts . . . I think a healthy, vibrant community is enhanced by the arts.”

Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund Grants for 2017:

1000 Faces Mask Theater for a public performance at Castleton

Kevin Adams for a public drawing and painting program in Shenandoah National Park

Janet Kerig’s Hearthstone School Arts and Crafts Camp scholarships

Ann Baumgardner for continuing watercolor painting of county scenes

Veronika Benson for research on Portland and Albuquerque for her novel

Kevin Bosch for the Rappahannock Writing Retreat

Patty Brennan for stained glass work focused on Rappahannock

CCLC for multi-arts programming

Goodlife Theater for a new educational puppet production

Barbara Heile for “spontaneous painting” classes

Kid Pan Alley for 3-day songwriting and singing workshops

Sheila Lamb for a 2-week writer’s residency at Porches Writing Retreat

Mountainside Dance Center for scholarships for young dancers and a June showcase

Rappahannock High School Band Booster’s for scholarships for individual instrumental music instruction

Will Sands for a photojournalism project on Rappahannock County

Wendi Sirat for 3 community drum circle series at RAAC Theater

Stone Hill Theatrical Foundation for supporting citizen theater

About Monica Marciano 9 Articles
Monica Marciano is a rising second year at the University of Virginia from Front Royal, Va. She is the intern for Foothills Forum and Rappahannock News for the summer of 2017.