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: Nikia Scott

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

Money Needed To: Start Phoenix Greetings‘, “an innovative line of greeting cards aimed at offering people of color a welcome alternative to the existing card industry”

Experience: As she states in her application, Scott is a “D.C. author and publisher,” most notably of her poetry collection, New Moon. “We, as poets,” she writes, “have been charged with a very hefty responsibility: to write accurate reflections of the world around us….I am the voice for the voiceless and I write to deface all our demons.”

Plan: Scott concedes that two existing lines of merchandise “have made a substantial impact on the African-American greeting card consumer.” Nonetheless, she believes there is plenty of room for her product. “As an established poet…I am wholeheartedly convinced that a new era of design and expression is on the horizon,” she writes. But before she gets there, she’ll need $1,500 for printing her prototypes and $1,000 for advertising her product.

Amount Asked For: $2,500

Status: denied

—Mike Kanin