Recently the Arts Mid Hudson organization held a reception at Buttermilk Falls Inn and awarded numerous grants totaling $121,000 to individual artists and organizations in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster Counties. The organization’s stated mission is, “to provide vision and leadership to support thriving and diverse arts in the Mid Hudson Valley.”
The funding for these grants is administered through the Decentralization Grant Program, Dutchess Partners in the Arts, Dutchess County Special funding for the Performing Arts and the Ulster County Cultural Services and Promotion Fund.
Local Marlborough artist Barbara Masterson received a $2,500 award for her “Beyond the Harvest” series that will be 12 portraits of migrant workers who work in the fields in Marlborough. Masterson said the works will mostly be 20” x 30” and she expects to produce more than the 12 works that were indicted in her application.
“These are the men I know best. I know their stories, their families and I’ve had a relationship with them for three years,” she said. “I [also] have to incorporate some kind of text.”
Masterson completed a grant application that had to show that her drawings of migrant workers have a “community component.”
“They are large pencil drawings and in October at the Cluett Schantz Park I have to exhibit them and then engage the public in conversation about the men and take it from there,” she said, adding that she hopes to have a few of the workers present for that event.
Although Masterson has been a long-time member of Arts Mid Hudson, this was the first time she applied for a grant. The money goes for art supplies and related materials as well as for expenses to put on the show in October.
“And they say make sure you pay yourself,” she said.
Masterson was thrilled to learn that she was awarded the grant, “because it kind of validates what I am doing. The more conversations we can have about the workers coming to this country the better.”
Lilia Perez is the Grants and Programs Manager for Arts Mid-Hudson.
“We get funding from the New York State Council of the Arts and we re-grant it out,” she said. “We also get funding from the Ulster County Legislature, Dutchess Tourism and the Office of the Dutchess County Executive.”
The office of Arts Mid-Hudson is located at 696 Dutchess Turnpike in Poughkeepsie.
“We have a gallery in our office so we do exhibition opportunities for our artists,” she said.
Perez said this year the grant awards were from $900 to $5,000.
“The typical things we fund are marketing expenses, outreach expenses, artist fees, supplies and materials, stuff that is really critical for the event to happen,” she said.
Perez said the evaluations of the grant applications are done by a volunteer peer review board.
“So no one from Arts Mid-Hudson, no board members make any decision, it’s all panelists,” she said. “For individual artists it’s a panel of working artists [and] for the project grants it’s people who might have expertise in event planning or marketing; those are the kind of people we typically have on a panel.”
Perez said this year they received 140 grant applications and awarded 57 grants.
“This year we gave out more grants at higher amounts and it always depends on the panel we assemble,” she said. “Some years the panels want to spread the money out as much as possible [but] this year we had panels that wanted to give them close to their ask so the project was more feasible and has more support. It always depends from year to year.”
Perez clearly loves her job.
“It’s so much fun. I get to work with artists. I get to go to arts events and I get to just help people execute their vision.” she said.