The Mountaineer

January 10, 2024

Two Haywood potters will be able to purchase kilns to advance their trade thanks to N.C. Artist Support Grants.

The grant program was created in 2020 to support individual artists during the pandemic and has quickly become a staple for local artists.

“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, executive director of the Haywood County Arts Council, which is the lead organization managing the grants.

The two grants to Haywood artists totaled $5,000. Both are potters and plan to use the grant funding to buy a kiln.

• Amanda Janes is a potter and multimedia artist whose work centers around Appalachian food culture and local plant life. With a Fine Arts degree 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,” said Janes. “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. In 2021, she moved to North Carolina to enroll in the Professional Craft Program at Haywood Community College.

“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 for firing and will give me more freedom to make and experiment in my art practice.”

Bell and Janes were chosen from among 79 applicants, with 21 recipients in a five-county region that includes Buncombe. Applicants could request as much as $3,000 to support completion and presentation of new work, career promotion, training, and travel.

Jurors were selected from the five-county region, with each juror having expertise in the discipline that they judged.

“Each panelist donated considerable time to ensure a professional and equitable evaluation,” Harwood said.