Rockport-area artists have two additional weeks to apply for a portion of $150,000 in grant money through THE NEW NORMAL–Rockport, an initiative challenging visual artists to create works inspired by their current experiences in the world. The online application deadline is now Sunday, Aug. 9, and all Rockport-area artists contributing to the Rockport art community and economy are eligible to apply.

About the grant program

Building on the success of THE NEW NORMAL in Fort Worth, where it launched in April 2020, Fort Worth businessman, financier, philanthropist and environmentalist Edward P. Bass and his wife Sasha, decided to launch a similar program in Rockport where they have historic family ties.

A five-person panel of Rockport’s most influential art leaders will manage the selection process for the competition, reviewing candidate applications and providing grants of either $2,000 or $5,000 to artists based on the strength of their proposal, portfolio, and demonstrated financial need.

“This is such an incredible opportunity for our Rockport-area artists,” said Karol Stewart, director of development and membership relations for Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA). “It costs nothing to apply and provides direct financial assistance to potentially dozens of artists who contribute to the local art community. It’s also a wonderful way for these artists to gain exposure, having their work reviewed by selection committee members who are art community influencers and decision makers in the Coastal Bend.”

THE NEW NORMAL–Rockport supports the creative community’s economic recovery through both service and art, culminating with the creation of an important and profound body of work that interprets and documents the Rockport community’s experience confronting one or more of three major contemporary challenges: 1) recovery from Hurricane Harvey; 2) impact of COVID-19 on health, work, and social interaction; and 3) the country’s current focus on eradicating systemic racism.

Applicants are asked to submit a written proposal including a personal statement in which they express how this opportunity inspires them to create and how the artwork they intend to create will support one of the three contemporary challenges in the Rockport area.

Applicants are also asked to provide an overview of the artwork they intend to create, examples of their current work, and a statement of need. The full application is available online at newnormalrockport.org; a link is also available on the rockportartcenter.com home page. There is no fee to apply.

“We want as many artists as possible to apply and take advantage of this program,” said Stewart. “I encourage any and all who have questions or need help with this application to please contact me through the RCA and I will be happy to walk them through the process.”

In addition to reaching out directly to Stewart, artists can also go to the RCA YouTube channel to watch three videos — Rockport Studio Tour, Episodes 14–16 — that will also help explain the online application process.

A recent survey commissioned by Americans for the Arts found that as many as two-thirds of artists in the U.S. are without income due to the pandemic, making it one of the hardest-hit professions in the country. THE NEW NORMAL initiative aims to jumpstart Rockport’s creative economy by providing a highly-focused support structure that helps its artists get back to work, while also bringing the community together to share, process, and heal through art that truly speaks to what members of the community are feeling and experiencing.

The program is a partnership between Fine Line Group, the family office of Ed and Sasha Bass, and Fort Worth-based nonprofit arts organization Gallery of Dreams, who administers the program.

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