In 2004, 402 hopeful applicants sought cash from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for various projects. Sometimes they got what they wanted.
Name: Briony A. Evans
Grant Applied For: Young Emerging Artist Program; city offers “up to $2,500 of support for innovative art projects.”
Money Needed To: Prepare “three to five stained glass windows for site-specific installation in D.C. Public Libraries.”
Five-sentence Description of Work: “Wood is weathered. Glass cracks. Metals rust, patina. Textiles unravel. There is a natural decomposition in the world, and I leave it unchecked with my work.”
Background: Evans graduated cum laude from the School of Art and Design of Alfred University. “I abhor elitism apparent in the art world, whereby work is presented in such a way that many people are excluded from enjoying it,” she writes in her application.
Plan: At the time of her application, Evans hadn’t spoken with any library officials. In fact, she may have established a precedent by asking the commission for “guidance” in carrying out her project. Evans hoped that by bringing her work to “institutions devoted to democratic access to knowledge,” she would reach “the public who are not necessarily art-educated or art seeking.”
Amount Asked For: $2,492.50
Status: approved, for $2,492
Upshot: When Evans approached public -library officials with her ideas, she found them to be a little cold. “They thought I was trying to sell them something,” she says. In the end, according to Evans, she was able to persuade only one of the branches, Southeast Neighborhood Library, to host her work, which will be unveiled sometime this fall. —Mike Kanin