Individual Artist Grant Awards Announced
Greene County Council on the Arts is pleased to announce the Columbia, Greene & Schoharie County recipients of Individual Artist regrant awards through the Community Arts Grants Fund Decentralization Program. The grants are competitive and represent the presentation of three $2,500 awards annually.
The Decentralization – Individual Artist Tier is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to support for artists in the construction of new, original work. The awards are intended to engage the community through the artist’s creative process and promote personal artistic growth. This year’s proposals included choreography, literary, video, playwriting, and visual arts projects. There were several excellent candidates with imaginative ideas and high quality support materials, making the 2013 review a difficult process. After much deliberation, a panel of artists from Greene and Columbia County recommended Claudia McNulty of Climax in Greene County, Maria Kolodziej-Zincio of Hudson in Columbia County, and Michael Breitbach of Richmondville in Schoharie County as this year’s Individual Artist Grant recipients.
Claudia McNulty primarily works in paint and mixed media and has been represented in the Hudson Valley (Carrie Haddad Gallery; BRIK Gallery; SamuelDorsky Museum, SUNY New Paltz; Athens Cultural Center) as well in juried shows in New York City, Florida, Massachusetts, and Washington, DC. The $2,500 Individual Artist award will enable her to develop a project entitled “Corn Porn” which will address what the artist describes as “the pervasive presence of genetically modified foods” through an interactive 3-dimensional installation. Public participation is critical to the project. Viewers will be encouraged to physically enter McNulty’s audio-enhanced sculptural space becoming, and recorded, as a temporary visual component of the work. “Corn Porn” will be portable and will travel to a number of local venues initiating questions and dialogue about the GMO controversy. Well within the genre of politically and environmentally motivated expression long embraced by this artist, this project also represents a fresh set of challenges. “Both sound and lighting would be major components in these environs . . . and would be my initial venture into creating a “space.” It is a simple beginning, but large for me,” McNulty said.
Maria Kolodziej-Zincio combines her mastery of photography with an exploration of the tactile and enigmatic quality of encaustics. Since her retirement from Columbia-Greene Community College as the Director of Admissions and Assistant for Student Affairs, her art has taken center stage. She has actively sought to gain fluency in her media through workshops and study with R & F Studio in Kingston, Jill Skupin-Burkholder, and the Woodstock Center for Photography. Selected as a New York Foundation for the Arts MARK artist in 2012, she maintains an active exhibition presence in Columbia and neighboring counties.
Kolodziej-Zincio’s $2,500 Individual Artist award will support the creation of “She Lives Among Us,” a photojournalistic encaustic documentary of a young Polish woman’s journey from death camps in Siberia to her freedom and 1957 resettlement in aColumbiaCountyfarming community. The 20-piece series on canvas will incorporate archival photographs encased in beeswax, imbedded with fiber and found objects and painted with pigment oils. The series will trace a painfully tender story of both personal and socio/historical relevance and convey it through presentation, exhibition and a publication.
“Certainly, my background as a beekeeper has an advantage over most encaustic artists in the ability to handle the wax in its pure form and this is very spiritual for me as I am in the moment with the natural process,” Kolodziej-Zincio said, speaking about her choice of medium for this project.
Her commitment to this project extends far beyond the parameters and goals for the grant. “They were quiet and humble people . . .They were the children of life longing for itself in an era that destroyed millions of people through power and greed. In her silence I will be her voice . . . to bring awareness and deep appreciation of people in our society that walk the very streets we walk on,” she wrote in her application.
The youngest of our 3 awardees, Michael Breitbach identifies as a primarily self-taught artist. His project will consist of a series of large scale oil-on-canvas paintings of upstate backyards. With “Panes” he hopes “not only to grow as an artist (both tecnically and professionally), but to grow and build my own relationship with the community.” Please join us in congratulating these imaginative individuals and watch this space for updates on their projects as the year unfolds. For more information on either project or the Individual Artist grants program in Columbia or Greene Counties, contact Director of Community Arts & Arts Education Grants Colette Lemmon at 518-943-3400 or Colettegcca@hotmail.com or for Schoharie County, Renee Nied at Schohariedec@gmail.com.