Grants help local artists pursue careers

By Penny Mamais

An overflow crowd at the recent Canada Council for the Arts information session on granting, highlighted the importance of grants to Centretown artists.

On Sept. 13, the CCA provided a chance for artists to ask questions and learn about its granting opportunities.

“We are here to answer questions that these artists might have, and best advise them on how the granting system works,” says Lise Rochon, information officer for the CCA.

Anne Johnson who rents space in Mainworks Studio, was at the session to learn about the different grants the CCA has to offer.

“I would like to do something nice for the world,” she says,“a grant would enable me to do that, it is the only way I would be able to fully commit myself to my art. With a grant, I’d have the freedom to do that.”

Karole Marois, an artist who has murals on display throughout Ottawa, has applied for a grant in the visual arts program for the first time.

“A grant for artists is very important. It gives us room to develop our work and share them with our community,” she says.

In the past, grants have enabled two Centretown artists to move ahead in the arts field.

Christos Pantieras and Audrey Churgin are among 22 artists who work from Gladstone Avenue’s Enriched Bread Artists Studio. Pantieras, Treasurer of the EBA, has received four grants ranging from $500 up to $4,000.

A grant from the Ontario Arts Council enabled him, with two of his artistic colleagues, the financial assistance to put on an exhibition of their work at in the Krash-Masson Gallery in former City Hall.

This show was called “Techne.” It displayed their paintings, sculptures and mixed media.

“It was a show about investment of time, and it highlighted the fact that the process is just as important as the final product,” explains Pantiera.“Because of the grant, we were able to fully concentrate on our show, making pamphlets and posters to promote our work, as well as buy materials for production,” he says.

Le Droit and the Ottawa XPress newspaper reviewed Pantieras and his colleagues exhibition, and the show was ‘well-received.’

Granting opportunities also give artists the chance to participate in events that would otherwise not be possible.

Churgin’s grant allowed her to participate and attend the Festival of Arts and Culture in Chile, where she displayed her artwork in the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Churgin’s artwork consists of the collaboration with young children creating mixed media, audio and video projects.

She has been featured in many solo exhibitions in Ottawa, Toronto, Washington and Scottsdale, and in numerous group shows across the US and in Canada.

Churgin says her work in Chile taught her many new things personally and artistically and after a week in Santiago, she returned to write articles sharing her experiences with her community. “Cultural dollars are going to a good cause,” says Churgin, “grants are definitely not a waste.”