Gary Baxter, professor of art at Houghton College, has been awarded an individual artist’s grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.
This newly implemented category allocates money to arts organizations throughout New York State, Which is subsequently bestowed upon individual artists chosen by a local panel. To be considered for this award, Baxter submitted an application with a portfolio of ten pieces, a written project proposal and his curriculum vita.
“I think this concept of decentralization of arts funding makes sense for all of the stakeholders; I will be able to replace an old kiln I’ve been cobbling together for 20 years, and at the same time, be held directly accountable for the investment my neighbors have made in the arts and in me,” said Baxter of award.
Decentralization is used to nurture the local arts and culture scene through grants for non-profit groups and sponsored artists. Decisions are made on a county level by a peer panel. Through these grants and continued assistance, local and regional community culture grows.
According to the NYSCA site, “DEC support enables emerging artists and organizations to grow professionally and to enhance the cultural vibrancy in communities and neighborhoods where they live and operate.”
For Baxter, his contribution with the grant will be a workshop in his home studio. The focus will be on primitive functional and ceremonial vessel construction and firing. The inspiration for participants will be pulled from traditional ceramists from southwestern United States, Central America and Africa.
Completed works will then be on display in schools, libraries and galleries throughout his home district, Wyoming County. To help wrap up the workshop, Baxter will give a public slide lecture at one of these venues.
“The workshop, public lecture and exhibition will expose many to my passion for the intersection of cultural understanding and traditional crafts,” said Baxter. “I think that in some small way this will have positive implications for all of us ... Houghton College should also benefit as workshop publicity is generated and I acknowledge the supporting role the college has played in my 34 years teaching at Houghton.”