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Blinn College art professor receives $5,000 grant for project showing life in Rockport, Texas

Jamie Speck among 43 artists to earn grants

September 14, 2020

Jaime SpeckA Blinn College District professor has received a $5,000 grant for her art reflecting life in Rockport, Texas.

Jamie Speck, a part-time Blinn art instructor for 18 years, was among 43 artists who received grants from Fine Line Group and the Gallery of Dreams. Grants totaling more than $140,000 were awarded.

Called “The New Normal Rockport,” local artists were invited to submit their ideas on using art to create a visual record of the community’s hardships and resilience, including the impact of COVID-19, the after effects of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, and the country’s current focus to fight racism.

Speck has lived in Rockport for the past 11 years. She teaches online art classes for Blinn while keeping a studio practice.

“I’m very honored to be a part of Rockport’s selected artists for this grant,” she said. “For this project, I proposed creating 16 miniature ink and encaustic landscape paintings with hand-stitching, on raw canvas.

“These images will represent my diverse memories of Rockport, albeit not perfect and abstracted, and even some fragmentation – like the challenges we continue to face. The landscapes are ‘repaired’ with needle and thread.

“As an artist, the simple repetitive motions of each ritualistic and restorative stitch – the sutures for the wounds of life – continue to propel me forward when facing personal obstacles. The needle and thread elements in the paintings symbolize the mending that must be made to the place we call home, to discover and perpetuate community healing.”

“The New Normal Rockport” was founded by Sasha and Edward P. Bass.

Sasha Bass said the project’s goal is to provide critical funding to gifted artists whose work will bring the community together, both to reflect on recent events and to celebrate Rockport’s strengths.

“Rockport’s artistic soul and generous spirit were on full display in every artist’s submission,” she said. “United by a firm belief in the power of art to galvanize healing and change, every applicant proposed work that reflected the different ways this diverse community struggles with and overcomes challenges, encouraging us all to listen, reflect, and join our neighbors to heal.”

A panel of leaders from area art community and institutions reviewed and scored applications. The top 43 received $2,000 grants to fund their proposed artwork. Of those, 19 with the highest scores received an additional $3,000 award.

Applicants were asked to submit a personal statement previewing their proposed projects and explain how they would make a lasting positive impact on the community.

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