For the last eight years I've been traveling the state through the Artists in the Schools program, making mosaic murals with students of all ages. Our work is based directly on their drawings, and one of the challenges I face is that I never know exactly what the students will draw - or exactly what we'll need to make their designs come to life. Placing my supply order is a guessing game, and I often find myself having to adjust their work in order to fit what I have on hand.
Also, as artists on the review panel will know, certain colors are far more expensive than others. Even though I have a generous discount with a wholesale account through a tile company, I often find myself having to ration some of the pricey colors. Red, yellow, and orange tiles are three to four times as expensive as other colors, but who wants to turn that glorious orange duck drawn by a kindergartner into a less glorious blue duck? The schools I work with spend a lot of money (often raised by the PTA organizations) to bring me in, and I have to be very careful with our supply budgets. On occasion I've ended up spending my own money to make things happen, something I really am not in a good position to do.
I would use the grant to place a large order of some of these more expensive colors as well as some others we often run out of. This would result in a tile library that I could draw from when we need just a little more or something to finish a project - which could then be replaced on my next order. Having some stock on hand would also put the project within reach of less well funded communities. Over time this supply would be depleted, but I am certain it would have an impact for several years. I've talked to other organizations in the past about funding this idea but have met with little success - though they agree it would be "awesome," it does not seem to fit into their strict funding box.
Funded by Alaska (September 2015)