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Funding for classes

  Jerry, your first and third sentences seem to be contradictory.

Contradictory only if you leave out the rest of the paragraph which
recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of one of the many who
have achieved excellence on their own. My point is not that classes
are worthless, which they aren’t, but that they are not essential.
The case in point is that of a person apparently stymied in his
desire to be a jeweler because he has not yet found a source of
"funding". Other replies on this forum, with which I agree, make the
point that if you really want to do it you can without waiting for a
handout. Classes and workshops can come later. Jerry in Kodiak


Hello all. I am new to Orchid; however, I have been following this
thread with some interest. I must admit that I take offense to the
use of the word “handout”.

First, let me say that I work full-time as a software developer in
order to support my quest to become a talented jeweler. My degree
was in fine art, not computer science, and I spent over 10 years as
a professional stage designer for opera, dance, and network
television–I have never stopped “training” for a creative career.
I am also single with no tax deductions, which means that a
substantial portion of my salary goes to the IRS every year. As an
artist/craftsperson, I would prefer that a substantial portion of my
tax dollars go to programs that support individual artists and
craftspersons in their quest to develop their talent.

As it stands, the NEA has ceased all funding to individuals, and
it’s budget for institutional giving shrinks every year. This,
while our first lady is in Europe making speeches about how she is
going to start fundraising to support the arts and culture of other
countries. I, too, believe the Afghani buddhas should be saved;
however, in my opinion Laura Bush should be championing the artists
and craftspersons in her own country before taking up the cause of
those elsewhere.

Furthermore, I volunteer with an inner city Youth Arts Corp group,
which works with at-risk youth and just lost all of its funding.
Through this program, I worked with children that have to cope with
unbelievable violence and brutality on a daily basis in the form of
driveby shootings, gang and domestic violence, and neighborhood drug
rings. In the ghetto, there is no money for art supplies or
classes, and few of these children ever see the inside of a museum.
Yet, time and time again, their talent has never ceased to amaze me.
For many of these young artists, this program has had life-changing
implications. One young man was recently accepted to a prestigious
art school on full scholarship as a result of this program–when he
came to us, he had never attempted any sort of creativity. Now, two
years later, his paintings have been exhibited in museums and are so
powerful as to make you weep. He is just one of the millions of
examples of why there needs to be public funding for artists and

Frankly, as a tax payer and an artist/craftsperson, I know firsthand
how much commitment and dicipline is involved in developing one’s
talent. Many of us have devoted most of our lives in persuit of
excellance–personally, I began my training as soon as I learned to
hold a pencil, which was about 32 years ago. How many doctors and
lawyers can say that? I see nothing wrong with an artist or
craftsperson seeking public funding to support their work–senators
do it everyday and are still respected, so do other small business
persons! Why should an artist or craftsperson be any different? The
public’s perception of arts and fine crafts begins with us–the
artists. If we don’t value the talent, dicipline, and dedication in
our community, no one else will.

Andrea McLester Tampa, FL

 FUNDING??? Are you kidding me? Does that exist?? Well, that
doesn't happen out here in the Midwest . 

There’s a ton of funding available for anything you can imagine. I
just found out that the state of Kansas has grant money available for
folks who want to try a trade show for the first time! And the whole
state is an enterprise zone with all kinds of business benefits.
It’s out there, even in the midwest. You just have to do the
research, then do the work applying.

Dani Greer
Greer Studios


I had two wonderful, helpful mentors during the first years that I
was learning about making jewelry, as well as a professor that wasn’t
a teacher in my view. I read as many books about the processes
involved with jewelry making as I could lay my hands on, learned both
casting and fabrication techniques, forming, forging and raising, and
worked as a designer for a factory employing 125 people when I was 23
years old. I learned about white metal modelmaking and casting of
thermosetting resins during that period. There are a number of very
talented people offering workshops on various jewelry processes, and
my personal suggestion would be to partake in them. From the number
of graduates of metalsmithing programs that I have met, most have had
to struggle to apply what they have learned to the real world of
small trade shops and craftspeople. There is a lot to be said about
the opportunity to learn and practice the techniques of our craft.

If I had stopped to consider what I was doing, perhaps I would be
doing something else today. Instead, here I am, 32 years into a
profession that I enjoy so much, I would not choose any thing else.
Without that first encouragement, however, things might have been
different, so I share my skills through a mentoring program.

Rick Hamilton


I think the whole point was, there are other ways to get funding by
working a little also, and not just waiting for a hand out. I
understand some people do need help, at the same time I like seeing
someone at least trying instead of just waiting for it to come to
them VIA Tax money. Clint


Hello Dani, You made me curious with your statement:

 I just found out that the state of Kansas has grant money
available for folks who want to try a trade show for the first
Since it's my home state, I checked out the Kansas Dept of Commerce

& Housing website for the grant info. Funds are available for trade
show participation, but limited to international shows with the
purpose of increasing exports. Expenses are reimbursable to a limit
based on show location. It would help, but not pay for much of the
total cost.

   And the whole state is an enterprise zone with all kinds of
business benefits. 
The enterprise zone targets areas with low populations and must

create at least 2 new full-time jobs in manufacturing or 5 jobs in
retail. Benefits are a sales tax exemption. Again, it helps, but
not a whole lot. Kansas is a very rural state with an ongoing
population shift to 3 major centers. This is an effort to encourage
smaller industries to locate in the rural areas and provide jobs to
keep people there.

    It's out there, even in the midwest.  You just have to do the
research, then do the work applying. 
You make an excellent point about doing research - like I just did.

People would do well to check out what their state’s dept. of
commerce has available. Could be a little help for something
they’ve already got planned! Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936