Assets for Artists had a productive summer — and so did our artists! Since springtime, 17 of our fabulous creatives have completed the program and invested their A4A funds. Here’s a little bit about each of them.
Boston-based Anne Lilly is a kinetic sculptor whose “highly ordered and precisely constructed interactive sculptures” move in mesmerizingly fluid, unpredictable ways.
Randy Shapiro, proprietor of Old Bristol Line Fabrication in Providence, RI, is a professional fabricator who specializes in “hard to weld materials and projects where precision and craftsmanship is the priority.” With the assistance of his A4A funds, Randy and his business partner have relocated to a larger space with a full metal, wood, and design shop.
Guitarist and composer Jim Robitaille has a slew of projects underway: He’s currently working on a recording with saxophonist Dave Mitton and is publishing his first book entitled “Your Sound, Your Style,” a guide to developing musical identity. Soon, Jim plans to launch the promotional video for his music lessons video membership website, where free content and subscriptions will be available for guitarists and all instrumentalists.
Valerie Isaacs is an Eastern MA-based oil painter who specializes in home portraits, local landscapes, and New England motifs. Valerie has been painting for over twenty years, and she’s excited to put her A4A funding & know-how toward a new and improved marketing plan!
While best known in Portland, Maine, for her “bold and modern” landscape paintings, Angela Ferrari is also the writer and illustrator of several children’s books, many inspired by the lore of coastal Maine. Angela’s A4A funds will allow her to pursue the self-publication of some new titles.
Teacher and musician Brian Kaufman co-directs The Sounding Board, a Boston-based production company that seeks to instigate thoughtful dialogue and social change through world-class music events. Brian’s A4A funds will support TSB in developing and marketing an original music-theatre work exploring the Boston bombings.
Whimsical illustrator Anna Beck enrolled in Assets for Artists less than a year ago, and she was the first in her cohort to complete the program. Among Anna’s latest projects are getting married (congrats, Anna!) and completing a new issue of her zine Biff Boff Bam Sock — which consists of articles, drawings, and comics about her recent nuptials.
Amherst-based guitarist Jay Mankita writes and performs songs for kids about animals, ecology, and healthy food, in schools, libraries, fairs, and festivals. Jay’s album Eat Like a Rainbow won the Parents’ Choice award, and this fall he’ll be touring a show of the same name that focuses on nutrition and healthy choices.
Rona Leventhal is a storyteller and creative movement specialist based in the Pioneer Valley. On top of regular kids programming (in summertime, you can find Rona at libraries throughout MA), Rona also works with teachers to empower them to use creativity and storytelling in the classroom. Rona’s A4A funds will allow her to invest in a top-notch sound system.
Peter Winne‘s band, the Tumbling Bones, plays new and traditional American music featuring guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass and Pete’s signature “percussive dance.” Based in Portland, Maine, the Tumbling Bones are touring internationally this fall through American Music Abroad.
Kurt Meyer is a self-taught woodworker whose skill in producing delicate, hand-crafted pieces has earned him coveted space at retailers nationwide. Working from his home studio in Western MA, Kurt sources many of his materials locally, and he relies on the natural tones of the wood to color his elaborate ornaments, boxes, earrings, and furniture. Kurt’s A4A funds will allow him to step up the marketing for his beautiful products.
Currently based in Lowell, MA, Mexican artist Sergio Bautista explores the interplay of hope and chaos in his intensely colored abstract paintings. Sergio will put his A4A funds toward self-publishing a catalogue of work and pursuing other marketing strategies to boost representation and sales.
Alex Jacques has a simple, though ambitious, goal: “to create the finest handmade straight razors available today.” Alex uses high-quality materials to craft functional, one-of-a-kind works of art with a lifetime warranty. A4A funds will help Alex continue to use superlative materials in the making of of his unique product.
Berkshire-based glass artist Brittany Gabel runs 413 Glassworks in Cheshire, MA, a glass studio offering classes and a gallery featuring work — in a variety of mediums: painting, photography, ceramics, and of course glass — by local and regional artists. Check out the 3rd Annual Arts Festival at 413 Glassworks on Saturday, October 18!
Katy Rubin is an actor, activist, teaching artist, circus performer, and Founding Artistic Director of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC. In late August, Katy met with other theater artists in Ferguson, Missouri, to volunteer and share responses to the death of Michael Brown. Currently, Theatre of the Oppressed is gearing up for ACTIVATE 2014, its fall benefit and celebration.
Josh Goldman is a composer, performer, and musical educator based in Eastern MA. Josh’s own music tends toward the experimental, and his compositions have been performed and awarded internationally. Josh’s A4A funds are going toward studio equipment and software that will enable the production of higher quality audio and video works.
The work of Rhode Island artist Liz Wikstrom is multidisciplinary, spanning portraiture / caricature, drawing, book illustration, and printing. Fans can purchase Liz’s quirky drawings, cards, and prints at her Etsy shop — or check out her new illustrated short story, “Sukkot Shake,” being published on the iPad app FarFaria later this month. Liz’s A4A funds will support her in ramping up her marketing.
Well done, A4A artists! We’ll miss working with you, but we’re excited to see what you accomplish next.