Center for the visual arts accepting grant applications

Eli Dagostino

The Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts (MVCVA) is accepting applications from Island artists for their 2013 grant program. In its second year, the program’s goal is to encourage Martha’s Vineyard artists of all disciplines to develop their creative ideas, according to board member Holly Alaimo.

In 2012, 13 Island artists received grants ranging from $200 to $5,000, she said. The grant recipients were showcased in December at the Pebble Gallery at Featherstone Center for the Arts. Ms. Alaimo said it was a wonderful event. “It was great fun especially for the artists who got to meet the other artists, and we had such a variety of art, from paintings and leather clothing to a two-person elephant costume,” she said.

Last year’s grant-winning artists included Bill O’Callahan, who received a grant to teach pottery at Camp Jabberwocky, and Thomas Bena, who made the documentary, “Home” chronicling the American dream of home ownership on Martha’s Vineyard.

Edward “Forbes” Smiley received a grant to finance a one-man exhibit of his paintings, and Christine Bresnahan used hers to develop a new approach to appliqué work. The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival received a grant to create a two-man elephant costume used in their summer Cinema Circus, and Phyllis Vecchia used hers to help finance a theatre project at the Charter School called “Women in History.”

Linda Ziegler used her grant to fund the use of new media in her art and Jamie Rogers created costumes made of leather and metal. Painter Ken Vincent created portraits of Islanders, Ed Shulman worked on new paintings and Ruth Major painted portraits of historic figures. Basia Jaworska Silva worked with cyanotype paintings, and muralist Margot Datz used her grant to help fund one of her large mural projects.

The nonprofit group will consider giving grants for projects that create new work in any media, including visual, performing, literary, or design. Lectures and symposia focusing on artistic disciplines, along with workshops and demonstrations for both adults and children, are among projects the MVCVA board will consider.

Public performances, broadcast media, recordings and film as well as group art opportunities and art related events will be considered as well as services to artists and art organizations.

The MVCVA formed in 1991 as a nonprofit organization for visual artists on Martha’s Vineyard. Their current goal is to support Island artists through their grant program. The grants are financed through a fund developed from the proceeds of the sale of the MVCVA’s former gallery, the Firehouse Gallery, now the home of the Allison Shaw Gallery in Oak Bluffs’s arts district.

Their original focus was creating exhibition space for Island artists. The group’s secretary/treasure Renee Balter, a painter working primarily in acrylics, has been with MVCVA since its inception. She said that when the Featherstone Gallery opened there was less need for their group to continue on its original track, so they decided to create the grant program.

The group’s president is Chris Dyer, an artist who works in collage. Other board members are writer Wendy Palmer, Holly Alaimo, former owner of the Dragonfly Gallery, and Judy Hartford, proprietor of Bananas, a West Tisbury boutique.

All applicants must be 18 years of age and have their primary residency on Martha’s Vineyard. The grants are given only to projects that will take place on the Island. The deadline for applications is April 1. The 2013 grants will be announced on May 15.

Applications are available online at For further information, or to have applications mailed, contact Renée Balter at 508-696-7643 or email