Crothersville sixth-grader seeking grant for art studio



Since art isn’t offered at Crothersville Junior-Senior High School, Zoey Prince drew up a plan to give people of all ages a place to create art and express themselves.

The 11-year-old sixth-grader received help from Tiffany Reynolds in filling out an application for the Indiana Arts Commission’s Arts Project Support grant.

That provides funding to nonprofit organizations to support a specific part of the organization’s arts activities, such as a one-time event, a single production, an exhibition, an educational workshop or a series of related arts activities, such as art classes or training sessions, according to the commission’s website.

Applicants can request up to $5,000, and the total project budget must be at least twice the grant amount request.

They, however, ran into one problem: It has to be submitted by a nonprofit organization or government entity.

On March 3, Prince and Reynolds pitched their idea to the Crothersville Town Council in hopes of gaining its support.

Fortunately, the council was on board, and Prince received a round of applause at the end of her presentation.

“People sometimes need a safe place to go or somewhere to relax after a long day of school when they are stressed out, and they need somewhere to feel safe and where they can express themselves through art,” Prince told the council.

The grant was due Thursday, and the recipients will be announced in July. The funding will run through June 30, 2021, and applicants are accepted each year.

“We have never applied for this type of grant through Crothersville,” Reynolds said. “We talked about our idea with (arts commission officials) to say, ‘What are our chances?’ We’re a rural community who checks a lot of boxes. We don’t have funding for art at school, this would give the community space to be able to come together and learn and it’s really what they are looking for, this type of project.”

If awarded funding, Prince will open Happy Tree Art Studio in a room in the back of Beauty from Ashes Tattoo Parlor, 218 N. Armstrong St., Crothersville.

The motto would be “Art for all, big and small” with the idea that people in the community would come together to do art, and it also would be a cozy place for people to sit and watch.

“It is going to be what you call a blank canvas, so after all of this stuff will be taken out, the space will be completely empty, and it would be ready for new coats of paint, new furniture to come in,” Prince said.

Reynolds said the business’ owner, Kyle McIntosh, would donate the space.

“Kyle has been so gracious and said, ‘It’s all yours,’” she said. “They’ll clean it out, and then we can take the funds to revamp the space. Then also, whenever you write a grant like this, you have to have an in-kind match of the same amount, which the space that’s being donated would definitely surpass that.”

The grant money also would be used to buy supplies and pay art teachers to come in and teach classes.

Reynolds said the plan is to have a guest teacher lead structured classes once a month, consisting of two three-hour sessions for around 15 people. They would teach a certain type of art, including drawing, painting, flower arranging, pottery, mixed media, graffiti and more.

With graffiti, for example, Reynolds said McIntosh does that type of art and is willing to be a guest instructor.

“They are not coming in and just ‘Oh here, let’s draw something.’ It’s actually structured to where they are learning, they are planning for their projects, they are given time to complete or work. On the next session, it would be all working,” Reynolds said. “Hopefully every month, there would be a different subject.”

Other times, she said there will be open art, where anybody can come in and create, and that will be staffed by volunteers.

“This is twofold for our community because it gives (students) access to art but also community members,” Reynolds said. “This is going to be a space where we can all come together and we can do something really nice.”

McIntosh said he feels inspired by Prince’s project.

“I’m super excited to see this art program come up,” he said. “The neighborhood I grew up in now has an art program just like this. This summer, we teamed up and covered old graffiti in my old neighborhood with murals. These programs are a huge need in our communities.”

He hopes others are inspired by Prince’s efforts and will find ways to make an impact.

“It’s amazing. She has no idea what impact she is going to make,” he said. “She has already inspired me.”

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