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In 2004, 402 aspiring and established artists sought cash from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities for various projects. Sometimes they get what they want.

Name: Nilda I. Aponte

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

Money Needed For: travel to Florence, Italy, in summer 2004, to attend a landscape-painting course offered by the Florence Academy of Art

Previous Public Displays of Art: None

Plan: Though Aponte admitted on her application that she had “a lot of gaps” in her art knowledge and skill, the retired attorney wrote that she hoped to one day “become an illustrator of upper elementary level educational books.” She chose a welcoming place to launch her career—students at the Florence Academy of Art are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. After less than a month of instruction, she promised to return with the ability to “depict scenes for illustrations in educational materials.”

Amount Requested: $1,000

Status: Approved

Upshot: Almost nine months after her trip to Florence, Aponte has yet to publicly display any of her art—though she says that she’s “produced quite a bit of stuff under my teachers.” When asked about prospects for her artistic coming-out, she replied that, for the moment, she’s “still a student.”

—Mike Kanin