Steamboat Springs Arts Council awards $5,000 to local artists through Re-Grant program | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs Arts Council awards $5,000 to local artists through Re-Grant program

Artist Christie Stepan is hoping to carve out her own place in the Steamboat Springs arts community.

— Earlier this month, the Steamboat Springs Arts Council awarded funds to five local artists through its Re-Grant program.

The program was established in 2014 to provide support to organizations that have the potential to make a positive impact on the arts and culture of Steamboat's community, and it was financed through the city of Steamboat Springs’ Arts and Culture Coalition funding.

"Our mandate from the city was to reach deeper into the community than they already do," said Wendy Kowynia, Re-Grant Committee chair and vice president of the Arts Council. "The idea was to be able to grant money to small organizations and individuals who didn't have the gumption or expertise to apply directly to the city."

Recipients follow:

• Working artist Jill Bergman, for her fellowship book, "Our Home," which is a children's picture book

• Aspiring architect Katie Kiefer for her project that develops poetry and watercolor monotypes influenced by the recent financial recession

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• Artist and owner of Make Studio Christie Stepan to give visiting artists a travel stipend for the studio's enhanced equational workshops

• Dagny McKinley for project development for her book "The Ladies," a tale of Charlotte Perry and Portia Mansfield who founded the 101-year-old Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, and

• James Dickson for project development and the purchase of a scroll saw and woodworking tools to enable him to create original artwork for the community.

"I often struggle to believe in myself," McKinley said. "But being awarded this grant, shows me that the community I live in believes in what I'm doing. It feels like having someone you love say, 'I'm proud of you, keep going. You can do this.'"

The application process produced 13 requests submitted by 12 people for funds that totaled $18,000. Recipients were selected by a committee that consisted of three SSAC members and three community members at large.

"Reading through these proposals was an honor,” Kowynia said. “We got to see into the hopes and aspirations of Steamboat's creative community and help give them life.

"We were excited that so many proposals had a strong element of community engagement with the ability to reach a broad audience,” Kowynia added.

Kowynia said the projects that scored the highest had the greatest community impact with the potential to reach the greatest number of people in the community.

"One very powerful way to make a positive impact in our community is through collaboration with other groups and individuals, being a catalyst for social engagement and bringing creative skills and resources to bear," SSAC Executive Director Kim Keith said in a news release.

At the beginning of November, the SSAC submitted a request to the city of Steamboat Springs Arts and Culture Coalition Funding to again fund the Re-Grant program in 2016.

"When you have $18,000 worth of requests and only $5,000 to give out, you can bet the requests will come out of the woodwork again next year," Kowynia said. "The need is definitely there, and it's so exciting to be able to address it."

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1