Recently a small group of writers and literary organization administrators gathered at 4 St. Paul’s Café & Gallery for a great and rare opportunity. Monica Valenzuela, Director of Development and Community Programming at the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island (COAHSI), hosted a free, informal information session specifically geared toward the emerging literary artists and writers in our area.
As part of COAHSI’s mission, Ms. Valenzuela seeks to serve individual artists by providing information on resources to help further their artistic endeavors. On January 10th the writers in attendance were treated not only to a morning with Ms. Valenzuela but an up close and personal meeting with Eleanor Savage, a Program Officer at the Jerome Foundation.
Ms. Savage shared information about their Travel and Study Grant Program, which supports NYC-based artists’ project investigations and research outside of the city, and their General Grant Program, a highly competitive grant that specifically funds the creation of new work by emerging artists. ‘Ms. Savage was very receptive, very open to questions,’ said Ms. Valenzuela, adding that she was impressed with how the workshop participants engaged Ms. Savage with thoughtful questions. ‘It’s a great opportunity and real confidence boost (for artists) to have a Program Officer from a grant maker of that caliber come out and meet you face to face,’ she noted.
The Jerome Foundation, a major supporter of the Arts across all disciplines, last year stated their intention ‘to build, over time, a larger and more comprehensive Literature funding program in New York City.’ Emerging and aspiring literary artists and writers could hardly be pursuing their dreams at a better time.
It was only very recently that Monica Valenzuela, through Brendan Coyle and his Second Saturday Staten Island art walk efforts, met George Christo and Sabrina Hamilton for the first time. ‘I was introduced to them during December’s Second Saturday,’ she recalls. ‘I appreciate the role they are taking in the community.’
In turn, we at Door to Door have been extremely pleased with the opportunity to work with Ms. Valenzuela and Ms. Savage in helping give our local talent the boost they deserve.