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What does it take to get an arts grant from the D.C. government? In 2005, 528 hopeful applicants sought cash from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for various projects. Sometimes they got what they wanted.

Name: Patricia A. Amaker

Grant Applied For: City Arts Projects; city offers up to $4,500 to “expose the arts to the broader community.”

Money Needed For: costs associated with becoming a “professional recording artist”

Background: According to her application, Amaker became interested in music at a young age, and she credits the “nuns at Catholic school” for teaching her “to bring out the best that was already in her.” But, she writes, “Patricia has been influenced by many artist[s]…in particular Aretha Franklin who Patricia feels is a very powerful singer.” Amaker, 48, has performed with such local legends as E.U. and the Soul Searchers.

Plan: Amaker is aiming right for the big time. “My goal…includes being recognized by the national science and arts association…I would like…to apply myself in the arena of winning Grammies,” she writes. But first, she believes, she has to make a recording. “I’m sure with the support of a recorded demo or cd,” she wrote in her Project Description, “I would be able to go on another level to the masses.” She asked the District for $4,500, including $200 for unspecified utilities payments.

Amount Asked For: $4,500

Status: denied

Upshot: Amaker can’t figure out why the city turned down her request. “I really took time out to let them know I was really serious about that grant,” she says. She claims that the process has been alienating—“I don’t feel a part of [the] arts in this city,” she says—but she’s not ready to give up. “I’m still looking for them to help me,” she says. “I’m getting of age, but I have a seasoned art.”

—Mike Kanin