I Heart the Arts

At the end of 2016, after the deaths of two writing colleagues, I wrote this:

Countries fall. Empires crumble. Buildings tumble down, and monuments wear away. People come, they go, they die. Only stories and dance and music and drama—only ART—remains in the world forever. Art is not required to be embodied by a physical thing. As long as we can move, sing, speak, act, and remember, we can pass along who we were, who we are, who we hope to be. Art is the ephemera that will last forever.

Art matters. Unfortunately, from time to time, the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities come under attack for….well, simply existing. It is rumored that these agencies are about to be attacked again.

Today I will write about the NEA. Tomorrow, I will write about the NEH.

As an artist who has benefited from grant programming, of course I want to show my support and explain why arts, culture, and history matter to the world. I also run an arts-based business, so I have a very engaged and practical dog in this fight: I want to protect my livelihood. I want to save my job. Agencies like the Delaware Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts provide opportunities for artists and mentor the growth of young and emerging artists.

Here is the mission statement of the National Endowment for the Arts:

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

And to learn about its history:

On September 29, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, creating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. To celebrate the agency’s 50th anniversary, we created this web section to highlight how the NEA has helped nurture the arts in the country and made it accessible to all Americans.

My own arts story is shared on the United States of Arts map. The red poster on my About page was created by the NEA to promote its 50th Anniversary celebration.

Please join me in supporting the National Endowment for the Arts. Contact your elected officials to let them know that art, history, and culture matter to you.

Yesterday, I went on a poster-making binge. If you’d like to save and share any of these posters to make your support public, please do:












Individual Artist Fellowship announcement

I am thrilled to be the recipient of an  Individual Artist Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts for 2013. Seventeen artist grants were awarded throughout the state this year. The State of Delaware’s news release is below.

One part of the fellowship year requirements is a public performance of work. My grant project in Literature-Creative Nonfiction will focus on the places I have lived and how each place influenced me as a writer. I look forward to working and sharing this project in 2013.

Seventeen Delaware Artists Receive Fellowship Grants

The Delaware Division of the Arts has announced the Fiscal Year 2013 winners of its Individual Artist Fellowship (IAF) grants. Seventeen individual Delaware artists are being recognized for the high quality of their artwork in the visual arts, literature, music, jazz performance, choreography, and folk arts. Artists were selected from towns throughout the state including Bear, Dover, Harbeson, Lewes, Lincoln, Milford, Milton, Newark, and Wilmington. Their work ranged from photography and sculpture to playwriting and choreography.

The work of 85 applicants was judged by arts professionals from around the country. Through the IAF grants, the artists’ achievements are affirmed, helping provide the recognition and exposure that artists need to successfully promote their work. The artists receive a financial award—$3,000 for the Emerging category and $6,000 for the Established category—allowing them to pursue advanced training, purchase equipment and materials, or fulfill other needs that allow them to advance their careers. The public will have an opportunity to see the varied artwork by these artists as they are required to have a public exhibit or performance showcasing their work in the upcoming year.

Listed below are the Delaware Division of the Arts 2013 Individual Artist Fellows. Contact information for the artists may be obtained by calling Kristin Pleasanton, the Division’s Art and Artist Services Coordinator, at (302) 577-8284 in Wilmington or (302) 736-7436 in Dover.


Established Professional ($6,000 award)
Name Community Artistic Discipline
Linda Blaskey Lincoln Literature: Poetry
Anne Colwell Milton Literature: Fiction
Scott Davidson Wilmington Jazz: Solo Performance
Ann Jenkins Milford Folk Art: Visual
Ramona Long Newark Literature: Creative Nonfiction
George Lorio Dover Visual Arts: Sculpture
Augustine Mercante Wilmington Music: Solo Recital
Aina Nergaard-Nammack Lewes Visual Arts: Painting
Karin Snoots Harbeson Visual Arts: Painting


Emerging Professional ($3,000 award)
Name Community Artistic Discipline
Alex Buckner Wilmington Choreography
Teresa Clifton Milford Literature: Fiction
Knicoma Frederick Wilmington Folk Art: Visual
Jerry Gordon Wilmington Visual Arts: Painting
Andre Jones Wilmington Literature: Playwriting
Michele McCann Newark Folk Art: Music
Marjorie Weber Lewes Literature: Creative Nonfiction
William Wolff Bear Visual Arts: Photography


Honorable Mentions
Name Community Artistic Discipline
Thomas Del Porte Wilmington Visual Arts: Painting
Dennis Lawson Newark Literature: Fiction
Georgia Leonhart Rehoboth Beach Literature: Creative Nonfiction
Robyn Phillips-Pendleton Newark Visual Arts: Painting
Russell Reece Bethel Literature: Fiction
Vanessa Simon Magnolia Visual Arts: Photography
Michele Xiques Milford Choreography

The next deadline for Individual Artist Fellowships applications is August 1, 2013.

The Delaware Division of the Arts is an agency of the State of Delaware. Together with its advisory body, the Delaware State Arts Council, the Division administers grants and programs that support artists and arts organizations, educate the public, increase awareness of the arts, and integrate the arts into all facets of Delaware life. Funding for Division programs is provided by annual appropriations from the Delaware State Legislature, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.