The last year was a whirlwind for me. I had started one project with my Jerome Fellowship when a I was awarded the MN State Arts Board grant. This allowed me an extremely rare opportunity to Visit a place I would have never been able to visit otherwise in order to create a series of paintings I had been obsessing about for a while now. I also received some extremely negative press at the time from a "watchdog" group which would not have been a very big deal until the local news station also picked up the story and ran with it. Unfortunately, both news sources only looked at my one sentence summary to the project to determine what I was doing and where my funding came from. I attempted to resolve the matter privately with the media sources at the time but I made too good of a headline to be able to input facts into the matter at hand. It was deemed wasteful spending before the project had even started. In addition, this was happening right as I was about to leave for my research trip and giving my energy to the nonsense would've put the entire project at risk so I set aside making any public statements about the issue beyond a brief acknowledgment in an interview for the Walker blog at that time.
As this was publicly funded, I would like to make sure it is public knowledge where my money came from, my budget, and what I actually spent. $6426 of my project came from the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts, $3574 from the State Arts Board, and $1600 from my own pocket. My total projected travel expenses were $6700 (actual was $6594*). In the end, I spent $168 of Minnesota tax payer money for travel. The rest of the grant was studio materials ($1300 projected and $1400 actual)and extra studio time because I had to limit my freelance work in order to meet the deadlines of the proposed grant ($3600 projected and I maxed at $3600 since this has become a much larger project).
The project is ongoing and I will continue to make work through the end of 2014 before moving on to the next venture.
*$2300 of that was just plane tickets and I spent 33 days in one of the most expensive places in the world. I ate a lot of rice, beans, bananas, and baguettes and walked an average of 9 miles a day in tropical heat.