Name: Joe Kovacs

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: costs associated with researching the novel Across the Border

Background: In his artist’s statement, Kovacs claimed he’d been a writer “[s]ince high school.” His first novel, Journeying Away, took three years to write and “exacted a tremendous mental and emotional toll,” according to his application. Kovacs also noted that he’d “accumulated nearly 100 rejection letters from my submissions.”

Plan: For his next book, Kovacs aimed to write about “an international romance between an INS Border Patrol agent and an illegal Mexican immigrant that occurs against the backdrop of the September 11 terrorist attacks.” He asked the district for $1,000 to cover his travel expenses.

Amount Asked For: $1,000

Status: approved

Upshot: Kovacs finished his book about a month-and-a-half ago. He claims that he was never concerned that his proposal might be rejected because of its travel-centric nature. “As part of my proposal package, I gave them all the details,” he says. “I [tried] to make it professional.”’

—Mike Kanin