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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: Karen O. Brown

Grant Applied For: Small Projects Program; city offers up to $1,000

Money Needed To: purchase a digital camera and learn how to use it

Background: Brown claims that she is a professional artist who has “completed four commissions for artwork in public spaces since 2002.” Her work is on display in such locations as Children’s Hospital and the Washington Convention Center.

Plan: In her application, Brown says that she has “been photographing a wide variety of subjects” since the ’70s. Still, she says that she does “not have the expertise to photograph [her own] artwork with professional results.” So she and a fellow artist, Hadi Alsegaf, came up with a plan. “I would like to purchase a digital camera,” she writes, “and he will teach me [how to use it].” That’s $425 for the camera and $575 for Alsegaf.

Amount Asked For: $1,000

Status: denied

Upshot: As it turned out, Brown didn’t need the grant. “Someone gave me a digital camera, and I taught myself how to use it,” she now says. “I’m loving it.”

—Mike Kanin