Gabriella Simpkins musician

Arts Foundation Selects 15 Artists to Participate in Capacity Building Grant Program

February 6, 2024 (Cape Cod, MA) – The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod has selected 15 artists to participate in its Capacity Building Grant Program. Each will receive one-on-one coaching in the development of a business plan; be given priority access to a series of professional development workshops aimed at strengthening their creative practice; and receive a $2,000 grant towards achieving their artistic goals.

“We are so excited not only to celebrate but to support these 15 artists on their creative journeys. Their backgrounds, interests, and experiences are so diverse and representative of the artistic talent that abounds in our region,” said Arts Foundation Executive Director Julie Wake. “We look forward to helping them identify the practical strategies they can use to flourish as artists on Cape Cod and beyond.”

Nearly 70 artists from Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket applied for the program, which is now in its second year. Artists were onboarded in January and have started working with Wake as well as artist Laura Shabott of Provincetown and psychotherapist, author, and public speaker Rick Miller of Truro, on the creation of a business plan.

DeAngelo Nieves

In 2022, the Arts Foundation received 51 applications for the first cohort; 12 artists, including Shabott, were selected and spent eight months growing personally and professionally.

“I am really looking forward to honing the business side of things,” said singer-songwriter, composer, and musician Gabriella Simpkins of Hyannis, who was chosen for this year’s cohort. A 2018 graduate of Barnstable High School, she is looking to forge a career in the music industry. “I’m seeking guidance to create a life for myself where all I do is make music and teach music.”

Roughly three years ago, DeAngelo Nieves moved to Provincetown after spending nearly a decade in South America. A multi-faceted artist, Nieves is a musician, photographer, and videographer who is seeking to use his work to “celebrate many of the positive aspects of being an artist here on the Cape, but also to call attention to many of the unjust conditions that exist for many artists, especially artists of color.”

A familiar face as a busker in Provincetown, Nieves has performed throughout the Outer Cape in such places as the Old Colony Tap, the Post Office Cafe and Cabaret, and Bubala’s By the Bay. He has hosted open mics at the Wellfleet Preservation Hall and taken part in last year’s Juneteenth celebration at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House in Provincetown.

“I would like to be more tapped into musician grants and would love to get into some sort of artist fellowship so I have more time to focus on my art,” Nieves said of what he hopes to get out of the Capacity Building Grant Program.

“Everything I’ve learned has been on my own. I want to be around other people who understand what it is like to try and do this, whether it be full-time or part-time,” said Karla DeStefano of Marstons Mills, a multimedia artist who specializes in paper art and acrylic painting. “This kind of support is so important. It is kind of a validation that what you’re doing, not that it matters, but where you’re at in your career, it is a validation of that.”

The 15 artists chosen for the program, which started in January and will run through June, are:

  • Filipe (Lipe) Borges of Brewster — Photographer
  • Victoria Brown of South Yarmouth — Dancer, founder of Dance Therapy 508
  • Katie Castagno of Eastham — Musician
  • Amy Davies of West Harwich — Filmmaker
  • Karla DeStefano of Marstons Mills — Multimedia artist
  • Joerg Dressler of Provincetown — Visual artist, painter
  • Tianna Esperanza of Hyannis — Singer-songwriter
  • Gemma Leghorn of Orleans — Writer
  • Amy Mason of Brewster — Visual artist, painter, illustrator
  • DeAngelo Nieves of Provincetown — Multidisciplinary artist, musician, photographer, videographer
  • Mike Palmer of Mashpee — Visual artist
  • Gabriella Simpkins of Hyannis — Singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist
  • MiYoung Sohn of Provincetown — Visual artist, sculptor, collagist
  • Michelle St. John of Mashpee — Filmmaker, musician, producer (theater, radio, television, film)
  • John Thomas of Provincetown — Pianist, composer, music director, concert producer, actor

In addition to creating a business plan, the cohort will take a series of workshops, including Taxes for Artists taught by tax expert and artist Hannah Cole; How to Write a Killer Press Release taught by Chris Kazarian; The Art of Licensing taught by artist and illustrator Allison Cole; and Writing & Talking About Your Work taught by artist Pete Hocking of Provincetown.

The Arts Foundation’s Capacity Building Grant Program is part of its Creative Exchange program, which is made possible through an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) appropriation from the state of Massachusetts, as well as support from the Cape Cod Foundation, William Raveis Real Estate, South Shore Playhouse Associates, the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, the Donald C. McGraw Foundation, the Woods Hole Foundation, and the AFCC Patron program.

To learn more about the 15 artists in this year’s Capacity Building Grant Program, click here. 

About the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod 

Founded in 1987, the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod’s mission is to support and strengthen a vibrant arts and cultural sector for everyone in the region. It fulfills its mission by funding grants; by increasing access to arts and culture in the region for all on Cape Cod; 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 as well as professional development opportunities that fall under its Creative Exchange program.