77 Local Independent Artists Receive GAP Grants to Offset Pandemic Losses

77 Local Independent Artists Receive GAP Grants to Offset Pandemic Losses

Anne Arundel County’s independent artists have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Venue closures, cancellations, and public health restrictions have limited performance opportunities, and thus the ability of dancers, musicians, vocalists, and other performing artists to make a living. Creative artists especially felt the impacts in November-December, when they would normally have generated a large percentage of their annual income at holiday markets, that were instead shuttered due to COVID.

The Arts Council of Anne Arundel County has been able to provide immediate assistance in the form of GAP Independent Artist grants to help offset these losses. Made possible through the CARES Act funding from County Executive Steuart Pittman, these grants were awarded to 77 local artists. These talented and hard-working individuals represent the breadth of artistic vocations that comprise our local arts community and include painters, sculptors, photographers, dancers, singers, musicians, arts instructors, songwriters, cartoonists, artisans, and even a comedian.

For the individual artist, this funding has truly made a difference. Comacell Brown, better known as Cell Spitfire, is a multi-talented artist, painter, graphic designer, and entrepreneur.  He offers a wide range of graphic design services including creative logos, marketing brochures, business cards, banners, stationery items as well as custom painted artwork and apparel.  For him, the grant “will help in multiple ways, from bulking up on supplies to getting my work printed out for my Maryland Hall exhibition. I’ve also been able to make up for past due internet bills, which is important because I do most of my business online. The rest will be put toward t-shirts and supplies. I’m grateful for this money, which is the first grant I’ve ever received. It will help me start the next year off with the materials I need to keep my business going.”

Dancer Jemma Lehner of Edgewater lost performance, choreography, and teaching opportunities due to COVID. She told us, “This grant allowed me to cover lost wages and continue creating and dancing! Thank you so much to the Arts Council and Anne Arundel County for making these funds accessible to artists – it was a game changer for me. I will be using the funds to cover my rent and meals for the next 2 months. This past year has been extremely difficult on dancers, the place that we usually go to for healing (the studio) is now the cause of our problems. It is nice to know we have our Arts Council and County supporting us!”



Click here for information regarding the Anne Arundel County GAP Grant for Arts Organizations



*Featured Photos Above Courtesy of  (L) Artist Cell Spitfire (Comacell Brown) and (R) Dancer Jemma Lehner 

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