GCAC Grants: Arts Funding Available

Last Updated on Feb 4, 2016 at 9:39am | Arts & Culture

"Artistically Speaking" is a regular feature of The Lake-Front magazine, in cooperation with the Garrett County Arts' Council, and is being reprinted here in its entirety with permission. This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue.
Garrett County Arts Council [GCAC] serves as a major funder of arts related happenings in the county. One of the Council’s key programs provides funding for community arts development. This funding is available to local nonprofit organizations and government entities that provide art experiences, education, activities, and entertainment within the county. Over the past year, grants were awarded to help fund Grantsville Days, Little Yough Summer Music Festival, Music at Penn Alps, Savage River Arts Camp, Garrett Lakes Arts Festival (GLAF), Spruce Forest Artisan Village, Theater on the Lake Company (TOTL), Our Town Theatre, Garrett Highlands Pipes and Drums and many others.
One example of a recent grant was to the town of Friendsville for their 250th Anniversary Celebration. The town’s anniversary planning committee was very interested in displaying public art as a major part of the celebration. The committee applied and received a grant from the Garrett County Arts Council to support this initiative. The Friendsville 250th public art project supported the creation of nearly 20 murals by numerous Friendsville artists and students. Eleven of the murals, 10 paintings and one photograph, were installed in the windows of the Old Mill in the town center. Each mural was inspired by a historical figure, event, or monument in the town. 
GCAC spoke with Trish Yoder, who coordinated the project for the anniversary event committee. When asked what sparked the vision for the mural project, she replied “The Town of Friendsville was commemorating its 250th Birthday throughout 2015. One goal of the year-long series of events was to promote and support the town’s revitalization effort. The Committee came up with the idea of having Friendsville artists paint murals on plywood and place them on the Old Mill. The artists went ‘crazy’ about the idea. They donated their time and paint. We initially assumed that we wouldn’t find enough artists so we planned to print some cheap banners the size of the mill windows, so that all the windows would have artwork in them.”
“However those banners were not needed” exclaimed Yoder. “What happened next was astounding! We had enough artists and artwork to complete eleven murals for the mill. Other 3 x 5 prints were placed along the Walking Trail at the Community Park during the two day 250th Grand Finale Event. The town really got a lot of mileage out of this small grant. This was the first major display of public art in the Town of Friendsville. It highlighted some of the significant historical aspects of the Town. One major benefit of the mural project is that it has helped to spur other revitalization efforts for the town.
As stated, numerous artists took part in the mural project, donating their time, creative energy and some of the painting supplies; Included among them are Tom Gooch, Jennifer Pletta, Susan Johnston, Angela Love, and Phil Smith. Photographer Crede Calhoun supported the effort as well, by having one of his photos printed on wood and installed.
Additionally, a stage mural was painted by Regina Holliday. Yoder stated that Holliday’s painting “provided a backdrop for the play Little Johnny Friend written by local historian Ina Hicks. It also served as a backdrop for all the events held in the Community Park during the two-day event. The scene depicted a log cabin in the appropriate era for Friendsville’s momentous birthday.”
The murals are still on display, having been sprayed with a protective coating to keep them safe from the weather and elements. If the murals ever need to be removed from the building, they will be distributed throughout other public spaces around the town.
Mayor Spencer Schlosnagle stated “We are very grateful for the Garrett County Arts Council grant that we received. Using the funding to place artwork on the Old Mill brought our town center to life. We were amazed and so proud of the talented artists we have in our own community.”
The Garrett County Arts Council is currently accepting grant applications for art programs and activities that will take place between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. GCAC has 3 types of grants, program operations, project grants, and opportunity grants. Grant awards are based on artistic merit, service to community, organizational effectiveness and compliance with the Americans for Disabilities Act. All grants also require a funding match of 50 percent. Grant application forms, eligibility guidelines, and program requirements are available by contacting GCAC executive director Karen Reckner at garrettarts@earthlink.net or calling 301-334-6580.
Projects of Garrett County Arts Council, including Community Arts Development grants, are funded by the Maryland State Arts Council, Garrett County Government, and by membership support. Individual memberships start at just $15 per year. To learn how to become a member or for more information on GCAC, visit our web site at www. garrettarts.com or call the office at the number shown above.