|"He'll Go Far" from the 2009 ART + SCIENCE exhibition by yours truly.|
It’s official, and I officially get to announce it: the absolutely awesome Escondido Arts Partnership/Municipal Gallery, one of the last non-profit city galleries left in California, has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. And I am feeling like a “proud mama” right now.
In announcing the awardees, NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said, “NEA research shows that three out of four Americans participate in the arts. The diverse, innovative, and exceptional projects funded in this round will ensure that Americans around the country continue to have the opportunity to experience and participate in the arts.”
I could not agree more.
Receiving an NEA grant is a huge honor. It’s also a ton of work getting to the point where an organization can even apply. I know this because I chair the EAP/EMG’s Board of Directors and have watched the organization expand and grow, even as the local economy has tanked. Last year, the BOD knew the organization was ready to apply for an NEA grant, but it was still a daunting thought. To make a first-time NEA grant application takes about 40-80+ hours. Yet the EAP/EMG has only one full-time employee, the amazing Executive Director Wendy Wilson, and one paid Volunteer Coordinator, The equally amazing Kellene Nguyen (who works less than 10 hours per week). The other 1000+ staff hours needed per year to run the Gallery and all its programs come from volunteers.
For a non-profit gallery to receive an NEA grant the first time it applies speaks volumes about the credibility and high esteem in which it is held at our city and county levels. It directly reflects the City Council’s support of its Municipal Gallery over the years, allowing the EAP/EMG infra-structure’s growth and financial stability to reach this level where our municipal gallery can manage a federal grant confidently and responsibly. The EAP/EMG was eligible to apply for this grant in its role as the City of Escondido’s official arts agency and holder of 501 (c) 3 non-profit status.
Per the conditions of the grant, the $10,000 which the EAP/EMG will receive for Federal FY 2012 is to be used towards the Art + Science exhibition, Aug. 9 - Sept. 30, 2011, and the Recycled Art & Runway Event, October 7 - Nov. 4, 2011. Both these exhibitions will be sending out calls to artists over the next few months. If you want to enter either of them, go to www.escondidarts.org and click on the EXHIBITIONS tab for more information.