I’m super excited to receive a Maine Arts Commission Springboard Artist Grant in 2021. I will use the funds for my residency at Watershed Studios in Galway, Ireland in November of 2021. While there, I will develop a stronger body of work in my abstract photography series, currently titled “Re-directing the Message“. At the same time, I will develop a series of collage-based abstract photography works.
This is a bit of a defining moment for me, as it is my first grant. I’m also grateful because I also didn’t think I would be getting the grant. There was one panelist who stated she scored my application low because I didn’t define the link between my residency to Ireland with me being a Maine artist. This was frustrating for two reasons. One is that this wasn’t requirement to make on the application. An artist only gets so many characters to write in the application. Scarce space means prioritizing what is important. If the grant doesn’t require it, then the applicant shouldn’t need to write about it. The panelists should know this.
The other is why I applied for the residency. I applied for this specific residency for a few reasons, but one is because I knew I had a professional connection with them. That meant I’d have a better chance at getting accepted as a result. This professional connection had nothing to do with the project. As a result, I didn’t put this connection on the application. It was irrelevant. Again, if it’s not required then it shouldn’t be judged.
But even then, a residency is a time for artists to produce. Sometimes the residency is important to the project. But the artist doesn’t have to necessarily connect a residency with the project. The residency can simply be a place to work. Everyone needs time away from the “regular” world to focus on just work. Sometimes that’s all a residency is. It’s a bit obtuse by the panelist to not understand this.
But, a few weeks later, and I got the acceptance email. The amount was sufficient to pay for most of my costs, if not all. Yes, this is awesome, and I’m really happy to be putting this official statement on my website: The Greg Mason Burns Watershed Studios Residency in Galway, Ireland for November, 2021 is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Thank you so much. This was a huge boost to morale!