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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: Joshua Lefkowitz

Grant Applied For: Young Emerging Artist Program; city offers up to $2,500

Money Needed To: produce his one-person play, Help Wanted: A Personal Search for Meaningful Employment at the Start of the 21st Century

Background: In his application, the 23-year-old Lefkowitz says that he’s “been an actor for most of [his] life.” He’s performed with many local theater companies, including D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth and Arlington’s Signature. According to his résumé, he was also an “Audience Choice Recipient” from the Washington Storytellers Theatre in June 2004.

Plan: Lefkowitz’s play, his application states, “details one artist’s continued struggle to find his proper place in a city where collars are as white as the federal buildings that adorn the streets.” He hopes that staging it will create “further opportunities to present work at other companies in D.C.” Though Lefkowitz offers to edit and rehearse Help Wanted at no charge, he does ask for coverage of other expenses, including $225 for a production administrator in charge of, among other things, “effective postcard placement.”

Amount Asked For: $2,402.80

Status: approved for $2,403

Upshot: Lefkowitz insists that he sees no irony in the fact that he’s found work by not finding work. “I would see the irony more,”

he says, “if the grant was of substantial size.”

—Mike Kanin