Three winners will use separate awards to individually produce a Christmas album; pen a novel about a hermit; and paint a portrait series of Caribbean families living on the Outer Cape
May 17, 2018 (Hyannis, MA) – Now in its fourth year, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod (AFCC)’s Fellowship Program is recognizing the region’s top creative talent with funding that will allow three artists – writer Susan Blood of Orleans; painter James Everett Stanley of Wellfleet; and musician Mary George of Yarmouth Port – to pursue projects that reflect their passion.
A total of 55 applicants applied for fellowships in three separate categories: written word, visual arts, and performing arts. A panel of anonymous jurors, from as close as Cape Cod to as far away as Los Angeles, reviewed the submissions of their artistic peers to determine who would be selected as this year’s AFCC Fellows. Each of the three recipients will be awarded $1,500 to support their work.
“The talent of our fellows is really incredible this year,” said AFCC Executive Director Julie Wake. “They are each so different and they embody the great work being done by our Cape Cod artists. They are doing work that the rest of our community needs to know about. It’s important work, and it’s being done right here on the Cape.”
A native of Colorado, Blood summered on Cape Cod as a child, eventually moving here in the early 1990s. She and her husband Chris, a sound engineer, live in Orleans with their two children, Lucy, 15, and Simon, 12.
Blood, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in foreign language from Principia College in Illinois, is the marketing director for the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT), marketing coordinator for the Left Bank Gallery in Orleans, and a grant writer at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.
But it is creative writing that Blood is most passionate about. Last year, her first novel “How Not to Do Things,” a series of humorous essays about life’s trials and tribulations, was published by Surface Popper Publications.
Having a book to call her own, she said, “is awesome. It is kind of unbelievable.” She plans on using her fellowship award towards a second novel about spending a year as a hermit. “I’m hoping that this fellowship with the Arts Foundation gives me, if not the time and the space, the permission and sort of the expectation to write this book,” she said. “Now I’m writing more than ever because I have this fellowship.”
For Stanley, a visual arts instructor at Brown University, the fellowship will allow him to move forward with a project that has a personal connection to him – painting portraits of Caribbean immigrant families living on the Outer Cape. “My father was an immigrant from Guyana in South America,” he said. “In this case, I’m focusing on the story of immigration… I think these are really important stories to tell in this time period. And these images and faces are important to have out there and represented in art.”
Stanley grew up in Waltham and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master of Fine Arts in painting from Columbia University.
His first real introduction to Cape Cod was through a fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown in 2002. He and his wife, Kirsten Andersen, a poet, returned to the Cape roughly eight years ago, where they are raising two children, Winn, 7, and Elle, 5.
Stanley’s work has been exhibited throughout the country, including the Freight & Volume Gallery in New York City; Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago; Frederic Snitzer Gallery in Miami; and Mark Selwyn Fine Art in Los Angeles. This year, his art is being shown at the Boston Center for the Arts, the Gaa Gallery in Provincetown, and the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis.
Despite his success, Stanley acknowledged fellowships like the one he received from the AFCC are vital to supporting artists like him on Cape Cod. “The timing couldn’t be better to have a grant that allows me to focus purely on the practice of making these paintings,” he said. “I think this grant program is fantastic because it’s for artists on the Cape. You know that they are funding people who have decided to make a life at making art here as opposed to what is more expected, that people go to a bigger city to make art.”
That is exactly what George, a jazz-pop musician, has been attempting to do on the Cape since she moved to Yarmouth Port from Boston with her husband,Chris, two years ago. The manager of the Cape Conservatory’s Falmouth branch, George splits her time between parenting – she had her first child, Stella, five months ago – work, teaching music, and performing.
She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in voice performance and a Master of Science in arts administration from Boston University. While living in the city, George performed at a number of popular Boston-area venues, including The Burren, The Middle East, and the Lizard Lounge. She released her first EP, Bird Songs, in May 2015.
A singer-songwriter who plays the piano, guitar, and “a little ukulele,” George credits her upbringing – her father is a talented amateur musician and all three of her siblings have pursued musical careers – for her devotion to music. “Something I really love about making my own music is it helps me to process what I’m experiencing in a way that is really meaningful and really tangible,” she said.
She plans on using her award to produce a Christmas album, composed of original songs mixed with more traditional, well-known carols. Her goal is to utilize the musical talents of her siblings when she records the album this summer.
Like the other fellows, George was ecstatic at the news of being selected as one of this year’s winners. “It was such good timing,” she said. “I felt like it was that little tap on my shoulder from the universe that I am in the right field and this is worthwhile work… Now that I actually have this money in hand, I have to come through with this project. It’s a little scary and also really exciting to be held accountable for my dreams with this award.”
About the AFCC
The AFCC’s mission is to support, promote, and celebrate the arts and culture of Cape Cod. It fulfills its mission by funding grants, fellowships, and scholarships; by advocating for more awareness on the impact the Cape’s creative economy has on our region and beyond; and by building a strong arts community network through membership.