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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: Keri Calloway
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: a book of short stories
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BACKGROUND: Calloway, now 26, was a full-time writer living in Northeast D.C. when he applied for the grant. He is a District native.
PLAN: Calloway’s stories consist of “page after page of ideas,” he wrote in his project description. “There are good ones and bad ones and some that have circled the globe forever.” The book would contain 10 short stories that explore the “Rise/Fall/Re-evaluation cycle that is the human experience.” An excerpt from “The End—It Had to Start Somewhere” depicts a group of friends on the Metro, heading for a rally against the World Trade Organization: “The Fort Totten metro station is in its own crease. A subtlely futuristic conjunction rising out of a park-like space on the northern fringes of D.C….Of course in these post-modern times the station is no more a symbol than a candy wrapper on a sidewalk.”
AMOUNT ASKED FOR: $1,850
UPSHOT: Calloway is still working on the book for eight hours a day. He hopes to have it finished and published in about two years. Was the grant rejection a disappointment? “I guess. Sort of. But not so much that it really had any impact on me,” he says. “I figured, Oh well, gave that a shot, and kept going.” —Rachel Beckman