SO. Here's the overview:
* Every year, the Lilly Endowment in Indianapolis awards grant money to 100 teachers from around the state. The program is called the Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship and it is designed to enable teachers to pursue creative projects that they have always wanted to to try.
* I applied for the grant a few years ago with a proposal that I thought was awesome. They did not agree that it was awesome. I didn't get it. I was really disappointed.
* After I had time to regroup, I formulated a new idea for a grant proposal and tried again. I spent the better part of a year scribbling notes and drawing confusing word maps in my sketchbook until I had something pretty cohesive. I researched, wrote, edited, researched more, wrote more, asked other people to edit, and submitted my proposal in the fall of 2016. It was a lot of work, but I honestly felt like even if I didn't get the grant, I would be at peace because I did my absolute best.
* In early December of 2016, I got a large envelope in the mail. My heart started beating quickly when I saw the size of it, because the rejection letter I had received from Lilly a few years earlier was small and thin; one page in a business envelope telling me "thanks for applying, but nope." My guess had been correct...big envelope = acceptance information. I freaked out.
* My work for the grant centers on the development of altered books and mixed media artwork that incorporates text. It consists of two parts:
1. An artist mentorship with Lisa Kokin, a mixed media artist based in the San Francisco Bay area. Through in person and Skype meetings with Lisa, she is helping me develop and critique my work, as well as assisting me with ideas about how to bring altered books into the classroom.
2. An artist residency at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy. This school specializes in printmaking and book arts and has been gracious enough to give me studio space to work on my own projects for a couple of weeks this fall. I am hoping to develop some of the ideas that have come to light as a result of my work with Lisa Kokin and create new pieces inspired by my surroundings in Venice.
So that's my deal this year. My family is probably sick of hearing me talk about "the grant", but it's a big part of my life right now. I went to the Bay Area over the summer and will be reflecting on that a bit in upcoming posts. Italy is still on the horizon and I leave a month from tomorrow. Throughout these experiences, I have been talking to my students about altered books and how they can use them as a creative tool. It's been a good year so far.