Sarah King says she cried last Friday when she received an email from Vermont Arts Council informing her that she is a recipient of a 2023 Creation Grant. The $4,000 award will help King cover the cost of the solo album she is recording.
Ripton-based singer King said she refreshed her inbox several times after receiving the award notice, checking a follow-up note that told her the first email was in error.
“It’s huge,” said King, 38. “The timing couldn’t be better: not only do I have to write and arrange the rest of the songs [on the record]but I have to find some money.
The grant will go towards production costs at a recording studio in the Catskills, King said, adding that she learned about the award after a week in the studio.
“I kept getting refreshed [my email] and I kept crying,” she said.
The king is one of 25 artists from Vermont receive a $4,000 founding grant for fiscal year 2023, the board announced. The grants, which have been awarded since 2009, “support artists in the creation of new work,” according to a press release from the council.
This year, a record 218 artists applied for creative grants, which the council described as its “most coveted prize for artists”. Recipients include visual artists, writers, dancers, musicians and filmmakers who work on a wide variety of projects.
Julien Barnett, an assistant professor of dance at the University of Vermont, is another scholarship recipient. Barnett, 42, was a New York-based dancer and choreographer before moving to Burlington five years ago to teach at UVM. He applied for a grant to create a dance piece tentatively titled “Subject to Change”.
The ensemble piece will focus on “unpredictability,” said Barnett, who added that “the title itself lends itself to that sense.”
“For the past three years, everything I’ve been involved in…has always been subject to change because of the pandemic,” he said.
In a larger context, the idea of unpredictability surrounds climate change, Barnett said. It is curious to explore this concept in the dance studio.
“How can you move with the feeling of constantly falling? Barnet said. “What does it look like?”
The project is a collaboration of the Barnett and Middlebury-based musician Matthew Evan Taylor, Barnet said. The creation grant will complement a $3,000 research grant from UVM, he said.
For a “transplant,” as Barnett has described himself, a grant from the Vermont Arts Council — his first — affirms his commitment and investment in the community, he said. And it helps build that community, Barnett added.
“I’m from New York where it’s quite competitive and even unforgiving in terms of funding and…opportunities,” he said. “Getting this is incredibly affirming. It makes me want to stay in Vermont.
The Vermont Arts Council also announced that it awarded 23 Arts Impact Grants totaling $207,295. These grants support “projects that expand access to arts and cultural activities, engaging people with limited access due to age, race, ability, income or other factors,” according to the communicated. Grants range from $1,000 to $4,000.
Karen Mittelman, outgoing executive director of the council, is quoted in the press release:
“We are proud and grateful to recognize the exceptional work of these 25 individual artists and 23 cultural organizations in Vermont communities,” she said. “They exemplify the depth and breadth of our state’s artistic riches, and the remarkable creative spirit that has sustained us all during the pandemic.”