Taken for Granted

By Julie Torres
Davis Islands Community News
March 2009

Heading Out, created by Taylor Ikin

   The Arts Council of Hillsborough County has served bay area artists for decades.  A visit to their website - www.tampaarts.com - reveals a wealth of opportunities for jobs, events, auditions, workshops and grants.
   The Council sponsors an annual Individual Artist grant to help support the professional development of local artists.  Applications are reviewed by a panel of arts com­munity professionals and Arts Council board members.  Submissions are awarded up to 200 points based upon a number of requirements, including resume and training, completeness and clarity of the application, the impact of the proposed project on the artist and the community, and artistic excellence.  Normally ten artists are chosen to divide the $20,000 grant.
   On January 9, several of the 21 applicants met with the review panel at the Council's offices.  The artists received work sheets to follow along as the panel critiqued and scored each aspect of the submissions.  After careful deliberation the panel added up the points and announced ten winners of $2,000 each.  Then the meeting ended. Or did it?
   A few weeks later, the Arts Council publicly congratulat­ed eleven winners.  Eleven?  Sources say one of the artists who didn't make the final cut made a well-placed phone call and was hastily added to the list of winners.  This reportedly behind-the-scenes decision removed almost $200 from the pockets of the original ten grant recipi­ents, many of whom rely upon their craft as their sole source of income.  A representative of the Arts Council stated that the board changed its decision because, "the last score was so close."  The truth may lie somewhere in between.
   Controversy aside, the bay area is fortunate to have a dedicated Arts Council providing such valuable resourc­es for local artists.
   The 2009 grant recipients are: Taylor Ikin, painter; Laszlo Horvath, photographer; Guillermo Portieles, photographer/mixed media; Carol Cleere, photographer/mixed media; Beth Waligorski, pianist; James Lennon, photographer; Michael Norton, actor/interactive comedy; Rebecca Sexton Larson, artist/photographer; Maureen Patrick, actress; Myron Jackson, poet/storyteller/performer; and Lynn Manos, painter/printmaker.

   Taylor Ikin, painter
   Ikin has called Tampa home for more than 30 years, interrupted by two decades in the West Indies.  The Vir­ginia native primarily works with water media on a slick YUPO surface, which she likens to painting on glass.  The self-proclaimed environmentalist uses strong color and a sense of movement to preserve the landscapes of today's Florida for the viewer of tomorrow.  Her cur­rent series of Florida landscapes will become part of a traveling show in 2010.  Ikin is represented by Nuance Galleries, 804 S. Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa.

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