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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: Sibongile Boyd
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 developing a Web site
Background: Boyd, 28, a formally trained soprano, claims that she decided to become a classical musician “at the ripe old age of 15.” Still, she wrote in her application, “[h]aving left my corporate job in order to pursue a career as a classical singer, I question my decision often.” But not for lack of confidence. In her artistic statement, she said, “I am certain of only one thing—that my voice and musical talents were given to me to be shared with the music lovers of this world.”
Plan: “Despite the fact that classical music is anything but modern,” Boyd pointed out, “the success of a classical singer depends largely on her marketability through modern technological media.” So she asked the District to help cover an estimated $2,278 Web designer’s bill that could escalate to almost seven grand, depending on the plan. She also wanted to spend $575 on publicity photos.
Amount Asked For: $1,000
Upshot: Since receiving the money in July, Boyd has been trying to figure out how to stretch it. Step No. 1? Change Web designers. “His price was overinflated,” she now says. Asked why she was considering such a bad deal, Boyd admits that the estimate came from a friend of her boyfriend’s. “I went with him in the hopes that I would get a competitive [price],” she says.