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NAME: Sara Gruber

GRANT APPLIED FOR: Small Projects Program; city offers up to $1,000 “to make grant funds more accessible for small-scale arts projects.”

MONEY NEEDED FOR: trip to Zimbabwe to perform in the play Pillow Cases

BACKGROUND: “One of my college professors…once announced to our class, ‘Sara is lucky because she is funny enough to play character roles but pretty enough to play leads and ingenues,’” Gruber wrote in her artist statement, noting that “[b]oth compliments made me sheepishly proud.” Since school, she’s been a peer educator, performed in a “production called Choices in which we used humor to teach about sexually transmitted disease,” and acted as Web editor and PR associate for the Shakespeare Theatre.

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PLAN: In her project description, Gruber claimed that “Pillow Cases is a new play that will premiere at the Harare International Festival of the Arts…and the playwrights feel strongly that one of those actors must be an American if the play is to succeed in telling.” She asked the city to help cover $2,500 in costs associated with traveling to Africa.

AMOUNT ASKED FOR: $1,000

STATUS: denied

UPSHOT: Gruber claims that she found out about the grant only a week before her application was due and was rushed to submit it. “I think I didn’t present enough material,” she says. Far from being crushed by her rejection, Gruber used her misfortune to her advantage: She now works as a grant writer. “I learned a lot in one week,” she says.

—Mike Kanin