Friday, June 15, 2012

A note from Matthew, about receiving the Al Smith Fellowship

"Representative Kim King congratulates Matthew on winning 

the Al Smith Fellowship in Frankfort, Ky." (Feb 2012)

"Getting the phone call notifying that I had been awarded the Al Smith Fellowship was an unexpected thing.  

During the Kentucky Arts Council's application process, one passingly thinks in the back of their mind that there is a tiny sliver of a chance of receiving the award but it's never, in the grand scheme of things, expected to actually come to fruition for yourself.  

What the award means, I'm finding has multiple levels.  On a personal level it's quite humbling to be included on a list of Artists that I never really thought I'd be associated with.  This has caused me to look inward and see myself with a bit more... I wouldn't say pride, but rather personal validation for countless long hours spent in a labor of love and expression.  On a interpersonal level, I have noticed that the award has given a boost to my own accreditation on the level of being a professional artist.  Both potential clients and peers recognize the award and it seems that some view me in a different light. On an overarching scale, I am honored that the things I create with my hands, something that in the past might have been viewed only as utilitarian ornament on a staircase, now without question is considered Art.  The Kentucky Arts Council states it as such and the Al Smith Fellowship backs it up with no doubt.  Kentucky is full of unsung artists more talented than myself and I hope that this, in some way, helps them too.

Article from our local paper, The Anderson News.
Wed, Oct 5, 2011. Article by Meaghan Downs.

Then there's the money.  The monetary portion of the Fellowship is the thing that people inevitably ask about, all wondering what it is that you might do with the award and how it will affect the artist and the art.  This is something that I have put a lot of thought into and it's been the topic of several discussions between myself and my wife and partner, Karine Maynard (a woman who I consider won this award as much as I did due to her support and participation in my life and work on countless levels).  Karine and I both agreed that this grant should be viewed as an investment for us to live up to as best as we possibly can, so we chose to use it as the starting block of our efforts to grow our studio and business.

It is our hope that we are taking this grant and putting it to good use with the understanding that it's more than just money, it's the Kentucky Arts Council's way of saying that they believe in us as artists and in our abilities to take a seed and make it grow into something that will make our commonwealth and our world a little better than we found it. That's our hope and our goal and we will endeavor to cultivate that vision and make it grow.

Thank you to the everyone at the Kentucky Arts Council and everyone who made the Al Smith Fellowship possible, including Mr. Smith himself, a man whom I have had the honor and good fortune to meet and share humor with." ~ Matthew Maynard

Karine Maynard, Al Smith & Matthew Maynard
November, 2011

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