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Rockport Awards Art Grants

The New Normal is a new grant program established to award money to Rockport artists to create art around the area’s three major crises: Hurricane Harvey, COVID-19, and systemic racism. Forty-three area artists were named winners. Courtesy image

Forty-three Coastal Bend artists received grants from The New Normal Rockport art initiative to create original art as part of a community exhibit. Their pieces will reflect on three themes: the recovery from Hurricane Harvey; the impact of COVID-19 on health, work, and social interaction; and the country's current focus on eradicating systemic racism.

The New Normal Rockport is the second in a series of funding initiatives aimed to quickly empower local artists with paying commissions and create a lasting visual record of historic events. The grant was also established to unite the Rockport community in sharing, processing, and healing through art. It was founded by Sasha Bass in collaboration with Lauren Saba Childs, program administrator.

“This one-of-a-kind grant initiative puts desperately needed income directly into the hands of our local artists whose shows and exhibitions have been repeatedly canceled, not just over the last few months but for the last several years,” said Luis Puron, executive director for Rockport Center for the Arts and a panel judge. “We are grateful to the Fine Line Group and the Gallery of Dreams for investing in Rockport’s artists, and we wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the continuing support of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at the North Texas Community Foundation. Together, they are not only making a real difference for our artists, but they are helping to create a body of work that documents our town’s hardship and resilience.”

Applicants submitted personal statements previewing the art they planned to create, including details on how they would create a lasting positive impact on the Rockport community.

A jury panel composed of Rockport’s art community and institution leaders, including Rockport Center for the Arts, the Art Museum of South Texas, Moroles Art Co., and K Space Contemporary, reviewed and scored each application.

Of the total participants, 43 will receive $2,000 grants to fund their artwork proposals. The 19 highest-scoring artists also will receive an additional $3,000 for a total of $5,000.

Sculptor Stan Irvin, a $5,000 award recipient, believes that art strengthens the community as a whole through shared experience.

“The racial inequalities that have been highlighted in the current Black Lives Matter movement is a result of an inability to see beyond stereotypes and/or have empathy for the experiences of others,” Irvin said. “Art is a direct contradiction to the notion of division, separation, and animosity. Creativity challenges us all to consider the importance of the health and well-being of all, and The New Normal has inspired me to further explore and share these themes in my work.”

Rockport’s artistic soul and generous spirit were on full display in every artist’s submission, the program founder said.

“United by a firm belief in the power of art to galvanize healing and change, every applicant proposed work that reflected the different ways this diverse community struggles with and overcomes challenge, encouraging all of us to listen, reflect, and join with our neighbors to heal,” Bass said.

Once projects are completed, they will be shared with the public in an exhibition.

The New Normal Rockport is administered by Gallery of Dreams, a Fort Worth nonprofit arts organization established by Lauren Saba Childs of Fort Works Art and funded by the Fine Line Group and the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at the North Texas Community Foundation.

WINNERS

$5,000 awards

Mae Burke, Anita Diebel, Debra Chronister, Stan Irvin, Kelly Schaub, Miriam Braniff, Steven Russell, Jamie Speck, Shirley Blackman, Juleanna Fuller, Sally Mitchell, Diane Johnson, Marnie Long, Rebecca Rice, Barbara Sparkman, Carol Koutnik, John Martell, Genie Mysorski, Maria Nesbit


$2,000 awards

Teenya Barnard, Angalee DeForest, Danya Heck, Kacie Mahlmann, Eric von Seibert, Betty Shamel, Janice Bartke-Thompson, Mike Catlin, Robin Hazard, Fern Olson, Michael Pence, Barb Robinson, Terry Baiamonte, C Michael Couvillion, Gail Dentler, Teresa Fajardo Lambert, Shelly Grappe. Amanda Howell, Mary Klesse, Kimmi Norvell Moake, Gary Hanner, Lorrie Harrington, Kenneth Reese

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