Manx Taiki Magyar headshot

Arts Foundation Distributes $60,000 in Grant Funding to 8 Cape Cod Artists

June 25, 2024 (Cape Cod, MA) – The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod has awarded $60,000 in grants to eight artists to support projects that will allow them to grow professionally and to address issues related to community equity.

The artist grants are on top of the $114,951 the Arts Foundation awarded to 41 organizations in April. Combined, the $174,951 the Arts Foundation has distributed in 2024 in support of arts projects throughout the region marks the largest one-year distribution the nonprofit has made in its 37-year history.

The Arts Foundation’s awards to artists are being funded, in part, through a $30,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant it received at the beginning of this year.

“We’re incredibly proud of the ability to leverage federal funding that will allow local artists to undertake the type of work that will have a meaningful impact in our community,” said Arts Foundation Executive Director Julie Wake. “We look forward to supporting these artists on their creative journeys over the course of the next 12 months as they show the power that art can have in raising awareness, stimulating dialogue, and enacting positive change around important societal issues.”

Filmmaker Manx Taiki Magyar of Hyannis, will use his $8,270 grant to direct and produce “Unerased: A Film About Asian Voices on Cape Cod” in partnership with Erica Tso Haidas of Brewster, owner of Belonging Books.

The film is personal to the pair as Magyar, who grew up in Sandwich, is half-Japanese and Haidas is first generation Chinese-Canadian. “This grant is huge. It’s a game-changer in terms of what we can do with this project,” said Magyar, who owns the video production company Big Tree. “This documentary is not just going to be focused on being Asian on Cape Cod, but being Asian in America. It stems from the racial divides in our country and opens up a bigger world and bigger conversation of what it means to be Asian-American.”

Karla DeStefano headshot
Karla DeStefano

Paper artist Karla DeStefano of Marstons Mills, will work on a project, “I am Her and She is Me,” that has similar significance to her personal life, reflecting on the intergenerational impact of adoption. Originally from El Salvador, she was adopted at six months old and raised on Cape Cod.

“I really want to focus on the adoptee experience,” said DeStefano, who has received a $5,000 grant from the Arts Foundation. “I feel like once I became a mother, I realized how much being adopted affected all the experiences of my daughter as she is getting older. I can see the subtle ways me being adopted is affecting her; I can’t teach her Spanish and when it comes to family connections, we don’t have any that I can give her. I was adopted during the civil war in El Salvador, so it is hard to find family because some children were adopted legally and some were adopted illegally.”

She will create 8 to 12 unique pieces of artwork focusing on the theme of the lived adoptee experience that she plans on exhibiting at some point next spring.

The remaining six grants were awarded to the following artists:

  • John Bonanni of South Yarmouth($9,730) — Retrovirology, a 36-page chapbook that will consist of original poems by poet John Bonanni, exploring cishetero erasures related to the AIDS epidemic and queer identity development. As part of the project, Bonanni will read poems at community open mics and lead zine-making workshops throughout the Cape.
  • Katherine Castagno of Eastham ($2,000) — A singer-songwriter, Katherine Castagno will record “Our Queer Elders,” an album of original songs designed to elevate and celebrate the histories, triumphs, and joys of queer voices throughout history.
  • Julia Cumes of Brewster ($10,000) — With her grant, Julia Cumes will create a collaborative portrait series, “Invisible Threads,” which will share the stories of foreign workers on Cape Cod to better understand their backgrounds and to celebrate their contributions to the community. Cumes is a photographer who has worked for IFAW and has been published in USA Today, the New York Times, Associated Press, and Chicago Tribune.
  • Samuel Holmstock of Cotuit ($10,000) — Musician Samuel Holmstock will bring his therapeutic drumming to the Kennedy-Donovan Center of Cape Cod in West Yarmouth. On a weekly basis, he will connect children and adults with developmental delays and disabilities to the benefits of participatory drumming, rhythm, and music.   
  • Kim Moberg of Centerville ($5,000) — A singer-songwriter, Kim Moberg will present live discussions and concerts of the ancient Anishinaabe legend, “The Seven Fires Prophecy Suite for Humanity,” to shine a light on Indigenous culture and its people.  
  • James Stanley of Wellfleet ($10,000) — Visual artist James Stanley’s project will investigate the history and portrayal of Caribbean diasporic communities in the coastal regions of New England. Inspired by his father, who emigrated to Massachusetts from what was British Guyana, and his mother, a 12thgeneration American whose family remained in New England, Stanley is seeking to amplify the voices of marginalized communities through figurative oil painting.

A total of 69 individual artists submitted grant applications with eight selected for funding. Projects will conclude by next June.

Along with support from the NEA, the artist grants were funded by Arts Foundation Patron Trish Kennedy, William Raveis Real Estate, South Shore Playhouse Associates, the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, Wequassett Resort & Golf Club, the Donald C. McGraw Foundation, Cape Cod Healthcare, Rescom Architectural, Inc., Dellbrook JKS, Josh Cellars Sonoma, TD Bank, Cape Cod Foundation, Coca-Cola Bottling of Cape Cod, the Arts Foundation’s generous Arts Gala gift-a-grant donors, and Arts Foundation Patrons.

The grants were also made possible thanks to a vote by the Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners to designate the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod as the official arts agency of Barnstable County. As a result, the Arts Foundation was able to receive NEA funding at the beginning of this year which the nonprofit is matching to support these eight artist projects.

Learn more about the Arts Foundation’s most recent round of grant giving for organizations here. And click here to read about the Arts Foundation’s grant it received from the NEA in January.