06.26.17

Spotlight: Grantees of the Martha Kate Thomas Fund for Artists

The Martha Kate Thomas Fund for Artists was established through a legacy gift to the Community Foundation Boulder County. Administered by the Boulder County Arts Alliance, grants from this fund (up to $3K) are awarded to artists who live or work in Boulder County, and who demonstrate unforeseen needs due to special circumstances. 

 
We spoke to two grantees – Priscilla Cohan and John March – about the impact of the fund on their creative work, and their livelihoods. 
 

Priscilla Cohan

With 20 years’ immersion in the arts as a potter, painter, performance artist, community art activist and more, Priscilla is experienced in many mediums – from wood and clay to metal, plaster, rubber, and concrete
 
“I guess you could say I’m a Jack-of-all-trades,” laughs Priscilla, who has also worked in a variety of creative environments, including group studios, museums, libraries, guilds, galleries, and plant nurseries, to name just a few. “Oddly enough, I was really in my stride just before the 2013 floods. Everything was balanced and successful – and then the floods came, and hit hard. 
 
“In Lyons, my block was flooded – my house, and the studio behind my house. The studio had the most water – about three feet – and silt.”
 

Priscilla's flooded studio

Priscilla's flood-damaged studio

Priscilla's flood-damaged studio.

 
Continues Priscilla, “I’m finally in the homestretch, now, but still nowhere near where I was. With support from the Martha Kate Thomas Fund, however, it was great to get my studio back online, first. Everything else I had was poured into my house.
 
“Recovering from the floods cost so much more than I anticipated, and took so much more time. Receiving funding made it possible to even think about going back to my artwork again. Getting support from the community in this way made it possible. 

Priscilla Cohan

Priscilla Cohan

Priscilla Cohan

“It’s great practically, and it’s also really great psychologically.”
 

John March

The 2013 floods also severely impacted the health and work of John March, whose areas of focus include guitar performance, recording, and education; music/sound designing, mixing, and producing; audio and video technologies and services, and more. 
 
Living in Boulder when the floods hit, John got caught and injured in a debris field. “I ended up snapping both my arms, breaking both elbows,” he recalls. 
 
“As a musician, I feared I wasn’t going to play the guitar again. But my arms are good now, I’m mostly recovered – although it’ll take another five years to pay off my medical debts. 
 
“In the meantime, support from the Martha Kate Thomas Fund allowed me to return to the creative process, and enabled me to get a really nice iMac that lets me edit video and mix audio. In turn, I’ve been able to do a handful of community projects, and I mixed and designed Haptics for 14 short films for the Cannes Film Festival.
 
“I couldn’t have done it without the grant.”
 

John March

John March

John March

 
John urges musicians and artists facing unexpected difficulties to seek out community support. “If you’re in trouble, don’t hesitate. Like the Martha Kate Thomas Fund, there are resources out there to support artists who need help getting back on their feet.”
 

John March, back on his feet

John March, back on his feet

John March, creating again.