It's rare to have a chance to observe such a process, and very educational. I was assigned to the group who were to judge the five applicants for grants to further their careers as potters. Since this is an area I know almost nothing about, just hearing the discussion was a learning experience, but the main pleasure after the day was over is in the knowledge that there is such a lively and practical interest in the arts in our state. A representative from the state had driven three hours to spend the day overseeing the decisions being made by representatives from five counties.
A great deal of attention was paid to making the best use of the available funds for the benefit of the individual applicants while applying demanding standards of quality for the discipline and for the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of the applications.
We decided to fund seven artists involved in jewelry-making, photography, basketry, pottery, and music performance. Over $7,000 was awarded.
These are hard times that give rise to many a letter on the op-ed pages complaining about frittering away tax dollars for nonessentials like the arts. For those of us who know the value of those relatively few dollars, a (tiring) day like that is worth every minute and every penny. Long live the determination to keep enriching our lives and to keep supporting those who contribute the most to that endeavor!