Aaron Asis, installing his “Fort Words” paintings at Fort Worden State Park last September, is among the many artists who have received Port Townsend Arts Commission grants. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Aaron Asis, installing his “Fort Words” paintings at Fort Worden State Park last September, is among the many artists who have received Port Townsend Arts Commission grants. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

New grants available for Port Townsend artists’ works

City commission reviews applications monthly

PORT TOWNSEND — If you have a spontaneous work of art waiting to be born, the Port Townsend Arts Commission may have some money to help bring it into the world.

The commission, a city board with $20,000 in grant funding this calendar year, has restructured its allocation process to include new microgrants available every month.

These grants of $500 or less are aimed at supporting independent artists of all stripes, said Jason Victor Serinus, the new chairman of the nine-member commission. Applications are reviewed monthly by the commissioners, who meet at 3 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month.

At the same time, larger Port Townsend Arts Commission macrogrants are available to arts organizations whose directors plan projects far in advance. A total of $4,000 is allocated quarterly.

“I would just urge artists who have any kind of project in mind, that they feel could serve the community, to go to the website and look at our form,” Serinus said.

Grant applications and information are found on the Arts Commission page at cityofpt.us under Government and then Boards and Commissions. There is no charge to apply for financial support, and artists can email [email protected] for more details.

Applications for monthly microgrants are due at least one month before the art event or installation; for quarterly macrogrants, the next application deadline is June 20.

In the past, the commission has made grants to organizations such as Key City Public Theatre, the Mandala Center for Change and Songwriting Works.

Centrum’s Fort Words, a temporary art installation at Fort Worden State Park, received a macrogrant of $1,500 last year; New York City-based artist Aaron Asis painted historical quotations on the battery walls as a work of public art and awareness of the people who have lived at Fort Worden throughout the previous century.

Fort Words then became an exhibition during March at Northwind Art’s Grover Gallery in downtown Port Townsend.

“We’re aware there are the big players: KCPT, Centrum, Northwind,” Serinus said. “They have staff, executive directors, who think ahead. So they can be at an advantage in terms of applying for grants. We want to do what we can to help smaller indie artists share their work with the community.”

The Arts Commission has also reaffirmed the desire to serve the many facets of the greater Port Townsend community, he noted, so applicants are asked to describe how their projects will benefit Jefferson County’s diverse population. The commission uses an acronym for this goal: IDEA, for inclusion, diversity, equity and access.

During the March 3 meeting, commissioner Nhatt Nichols broached another topic: having a Port Townsend poet laureate, much like the cities of Seattle and San Francisco.

Serinus, Nichols and the other commissioners — Julie Johnson, Michelle Hagewood, Joe Gillard, Dan Groussman, Nan Toby Tyrrell, Danny McEnerney and the newly appointed Sondra McConnell — plan to discuss the subject in their next meeting, open to the public via Zoom at 3 p.m. April 7.

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Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

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