The Massachusetts Cultural Council gives away grants to artists and writers every year. When I moved back to Mass in 2011, I found out about their grant program and immediately wanted to enter some of my work. They only give grants every other year in the category of Photography and I missed the deadline two years ago.
Well, let me correct myself: I didn't actually "miss" it. Instead of dedicating myself to what would turn out to be only a few hours of work, I found every excuse in the book, including accepting other plans on the day that I had slated to format my photos, to allow the deadline to slip. I have vowed since that time, that I would under no circumstance let anything get in the way of submitting this year. On January 26th, I submitted five pieces of photography to MCC and I now await several months until the announcements are made.
I've often ruminated on the question: What does it mean to be an artist? I consider myself a hack writer, an occasional artist, a photography enthusiast. But never a serious artist. I started this blog a few years ago to explore art, its origins within myself, its sometimes difficult integration into a life whose career focus is not art, and to make it, despite all of the plans to be made, and chores to be done, and responsibilities that seem to want to do everything to keep me from it.
Do we all look for a little recognition in what we do? For me, submitting photos was to have an endorsement of sorts, a high-five in the "You're Alright" category. Doing what you love shouldn't require recognition, necessarily, but I think it's okay if you get it in the process.
But hence, today's piece of writing was more about my friends than it was supposed to be about me. The preceding was merely background. So, let's get on with it, ay?
Back in January, I asked friends and colleagues to offer feedback on four different "galleries" of photography. Ones own opinion of their work is sometimes skewed due to personal attachment and therefore my intent of asking for feedback was to find out what other people think is good photography. Thank you, friends, for your time and your feedback.
In return, I offered to give away to two randomly selected people a piece of framed art or photography of their choosing. Today, I put together the list of folks who voted, cut up the hand written names, and selected two while blindfolded. Okay, I was not blindfolded....but I did look away. Well, the results are in and you'll just have to go here to see them: www.alysontherrien.com/contest.html.