[New York, N.Y. June 17 2016] The Hell’s Kitchen Foundation today announced the first winners of the Foundation’s visual arts grant program: Jessica Maffia, Judy Negron, and James Seffens—all local visual artists who live and work in Hell’s Kitchen. Established by Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market founder Alan Boss, the Foundation grants ranging from $500 – $5000 are awarded annually to provide financial assistance to Hell’s Kitchen’s resident visual artists. In reviewing grant applications, the Foundation seeks out new and under-recognized neighborhood artists.
“We are so pleased with the diversity of this year’s grant winners, who represent both up-and-coming and veteran artists in Hell’s Kitchen. These awards are a natural extension of our mission in this neighborhood to recognize and preserve the historical significance of the Hell’s Kitchen artist community,” said Foundation Chair Inge Ivchenko. “We know that living and working as an artist in New York City is increasingly difficult because of the rising cost of living and it is very moving to meet these artists and learn how dedicated they are to making their art. It is an honor to support them.”
The artists will be offered exhibition space at the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market during the summer to introduce neighbors and New Yorkers to their work.
From winner Jessica Maffia: "I am so honored to have been awarded a grant from the Hell’s Kitchen Foundation, and so humbled. Living and working in this city as an artist is not easy! I am a native New Yorker who has been a teaching artist for years until the fall of 2015 when I took the plunge and quit teaching so that I could pursue my dreams full-time. It has been a struggle, but so rewarding to dedicate myself to drawing. This grant will allow me to buy more paper, pencils, pens, and my first set of gouache. I will use these to continue working on my series of plankton and evaporated sea salt drawings as well as a new celestial series from the imagination. It will also allow me to participate in a new art fair in the fall. I am deeply grateful for this opportunity, it is my first grant and could not have come at a better time. Thank you very much!"
From winner Judy Negron: “With this grant, I can explore this theme in mosaics, painting, and etchings. I've been wanting to take advantage of my membership in The Printmaking Workshop (also in Hell's Kitchen) but haven't been able to afford it. Now I can also purchase the copper plates, paper, and ink that I need for the project.
Also, my mosaics now incorporate painting elements, and I can restock my paint supply.
I'm extremely honored and grateful for this award and the opportunity to work on The Umbrian Dog, with all the needed materials.”
From winner James Seffens: I have been a "working artist" for 36 years, also known as a design source, a fabricator, an artist's artist, a craftsman. While my own signature work has sold, I have not developed much of a track record with art galleries. So, I would really like to try to write a new career chapter, at age 62.
“But first - there are costs. I would dedicate the grant funds to preparing my work for exhibition, obtaining quality photography of the work for presentation purposes, and the creation of a new web-based portfolio or website. There are a few other things, some art supplies that have always seemed a bit too extravagant, such as a full set of Conte pastel pencils, my favorite drawing medium. It would be nice to have one month's studio rent covered, also, since this can relieve some of the pressure, and allow more time to focus on my work.”
To qualify for consideration, artists must be actively engaged in creating visual art as defined in the application form and have their sole residence located within an area bounded by West 57th Street to the north, West 34th Street to the south, Twelfth Avenue to the west, and Eight Avenue to the east. Specific guidelines and applications are available on Hell’s Kitchen Foundation’s website. The application can be submitted by mail or electronically.
ABOUT THE HELL’S KITCHEN FOUNDATION. The Hell's Kitchen Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, awards grants to visual artists living in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood. The Foundation is the designated community sponsor of Hell's Kitchen Flea Market and is rooted in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood and New York City's art and civic-minded communities. Its board is all volunteer and the foundation has no paid staff.