In 2003, 588 applicants sought cash from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for various projects. Sometimes they got what they wanted.
NAME: Breck Omar Brunson
GRANT APPLIED FOR: Young Emerging Artist Program; city offers up to $2,500 to artists between the ages of 18 and 30 as “support for innovative art projects.”
MONEY NEEDED FOR: 54 subscriptions to JET, a weekly African-American entertainment magazine
BACKGROUND: Brunson, now 30, is a 2002 graduate of the Corcoran College of Art & Design. According to his artistic statement, his “approach to art is idea driven with an emphasis on options and decision making on the part of the participators or audience.” He often withholds his identity as an artist to prevent “interference with personal interpretations of my work.”
PLAN: Brunson wanted to purchase one-year subscriptions to JET for 54 major art museums and galleries all over the world. “The simple but ambiguous title of this magazine suggest flight and black as a lustrous color full of glowing light,” he wrote in his project description. “In a sense, I am flying these jets into buildings initially unexpectedly, but persistently for a one year.” He had already started the project in one Delaware museum and seven D.C. galleries.
AMOUNT ASKED FOR: $1,348
UPSHOT: Brunson never completed the project and no longer subscribes to JET. “There is a lot of airplane imagery going on in the last couple of years, so that was my terrorist act, if you will,” he says. “Not something violent.” He admits that his artistic intentions would have seemed vague to subscription recipients. “I think it [would have been] more like, Why am I getting this magazine?”