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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: Ayeola Alexander
GRANT APPLIED FOR: Young Artists Community Service Program; city offers up to $2,500 to artists between the ages of 18 and 30.
MONEY NEEDED FOR: photography workshop for nonprofit Facilitating Leadership in Youth (FLY)
BACKGROUND: Alexander, who turns 32 on March 6, had led a photography workshop for FLY the summer before she applied for the grant. “I…noted many issues (primarily related to a lack of self confidence) plaguing my students,” she wrote in her project description. For her artistic statement, Alexander wrote a poem inspired by the “ghandi” quote “Be the chance you want to see in the world.”
PLAN: Alexander’s “peace through art workshop” would involve 10 youths from the Barry Farm and Parkchester public-housing communities, according to the project description. The students would each create a “what peace looks like to me photo series” and make the images into cards. The five-week workshop would end with an exhibition, where the cards would be for sale.
AMOUNT ASKED FOR: $2,311
UPSHOT: After Alexander finished her FLY summer workshop in 2003, she put on a similar program for Serbian and Albanian youths in Kosovo. Though many of her students abroad struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, the D.C. program was still more difficult, she says. “In Kosovo, there’s an obvious divide,” she says. “Here, there’s still a bridge [dividing the people], but nobody’s saying they can’t go over the bridge. But all the same barriers are there for them in their minds.” —Rachel Beckman