Smoky Mountain News

December 13, 2023

The Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC) along with regional partners, including Arts AVL, Transylvania Community Arts Council, Tryon Fine Arts Center and Arts Council of Henderson County, announce the 2023-2024 Artist Support Grant awardees. 

Grants were provided to 21 artists in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Rutherford and Transylvania counties, also called Region 17. The Artist Support Grant was created in 2020 to support individual artists during the pandemic and has quickly become a staple for local artists.

According to the North Carolina Arts Council website, the Artist Support Grants are intended to support “the professional and artistic development of emerging, midcareer, and established artists” as they strive to enhance their artistic and business skills and expand their audiences. 

Region 17 received applications from 79 artists requesting funding just under $200,000 with $44,000 available to award. Applicants could request as much as $3,000 to support completion and presentation of new work, career promotion, training, and travel. New this year, artists were also able to include a budget item to pay for their time to create.

“As an artist myself, I understand how impactful these funds can be to an artist and am grateful to the North Carolina Arts Council for providing the funds” said Tonya Harwood, HCAC executive director and the lead organization managing the grant.

The 21 artist awardees represent the disciplines of visual, performing, literature and interdisciplinary arts. Haywood County has two awardees, with a total grant amount of $5,003 awarded:

• Amanda Janes is a potter and multimedia artist, whose work centers around Appalachian food culture and local plant life. With a BFA from Western Carolina University, she explores the connections between nostalgia and how we create community in the modern world.

“I’m delighted and deeply thankful to everyone involved in making grants like these possible,” Janes said. “A research kiln will make a massive impact on my small business, and I’m honored by the opportunity to contribute to our vibrant arts community here in the mountains.” 

• A.C. Bell is also a potter, originally from Chicago, Illinois. She began taking classes and working as a studio monitor, moving into teaching kids’ classes and introductory classes for adults. In 2021, after going as far as she could taking classes at art centers and craft schools, she moved to North Carolina for the Professional Craft Program at Haywood Community College in Clyde.

“I’m so excited to be receiving the Artist Support Grant, which will help me purchase a kiln for my home studio,” Bell said. “Having a kiln at home in Canton will save me a lot of time and stress transporting delicate work into Asheville, where I’m currently firing work, and will give me more freedom to make and experiment in my art practice.”