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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: Melissa P. Best
Grant Applied For: Young
Emerging Artist Program; city offers up to $2,500
Money Needed To: finance a “high quality production and workshop/rap session” by Best and partner Teena Nicole Fitzgerald’s R.A.G.T.I.M.E. Productions Inc.
Experience: On her résumé, Best cites an “N/A” role on HBO’s critically acclaimed series The Wire. She also mentions acting roles in numerous plays but leaves out the production companies. As she writes in her application, “If I do not affect someone’s life at least enough [to] cause someone to think beyond a two-hour span of entertainment, I have not done my job.”
Plan: Best and Fitzgerald hope to put together and perform The “Music” of Life, a play that aims to “uncover all the things that society…seems to skip over.” Though they mention no specific interested parties, according to Best’s application, the pair anticipate “that the production will warrant requests from high schools and community centers citywide due to its social workshop component.” Best goes on to say that after she and her company perform the play, “the moderators [Best and Fitzgerald] and participants will both come together (on a big chalkboard or life size post it pad) to write down plausible solutions to commit to in order to work through these issues.”
Amount Asked For: $2,500