March 28, 2002
Vol. 21 No. 12

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    Arts Planning Council awards $36,500 in first round of grants

    By Carrie Golus
    News Office

    “The Glass House Project,” proposed by undergraduates Star Mishkel-Eneva and Kristina Nikolova, will be a DVD realization of director Sergei Eisenstein’s idea to make a film in a glass building.

    A jazz concert series, a full-length original feature film and a model of Sergei Eisenstein’s glass house are just three of the projects that have won grants from UChicagoArts, a new funding body established by the University’s Arts Planning Council.

    Six projects totaling $36,500 were funded by the first round of grants, announced Friday, Feb. 8. Two projects totaling $8,400 were funded by the second round, announced Friday, March 8.

    February’s winners included the concert series “Solo Art” ($3,000), which will bring Chicago’s top jazz musicians to campus during Spring Quarter, and “Haunting Pierrot’s Ghost” ($10,000), a collaborative feature film by student groups University Theater and Fire Escape Productions. The film, written and directed by alumnus Nima Bassiri (A.B., ’01), will be screened at the student-organized Festival of the Arts, which also received a grant for $10,000.

    “The film project is really very Chicago, in that it’s so ambitious,” said Heidi Coleman, Director of University Theater, who advised several student groups on their grant applications. “Anywhere else, the students might have started by scaling the film back, making a 10-minute short. But here, they’re not doing anything halfway.”

    Other February winning projects are “Critical Mass” ($3,500), a Smart Museum exhibition of work by Chicago artist-activists; “Art, Social Change, and Collaboration” ($6,000), a discussion and performance series organized by the Center for Gender Studies; and a screening of films by experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage and co-organized by Chicago Review ($4,000).

    Winning projects selected in March are The Bunny Book ($3,400), an artists’ book featuring images and essays by second-year M.F.A. students, and “The Glass House Project,” a DVD realization of Russian director Sergei Eisenstein’s idea to make a film in an all-glass apartment complex. “This idea came from two undergraduates,” said Douglas Baird, the Harry A. Bigelow Distinguished Service Professor in the Law School and chairman of the 12-member grant committee. “There are several people on the committee who know a lot about film, and their response was ‘I wish I’d thought of that.’”

    UChicagoArts grants are awarded twice each quarter during the Fall, Winter and Spring quarters. Application deadlines for spring quarter are Wednesday, April 10 (with notification Friday, April 26) and Wednesday, May 8 (with notification Friday, May 24). The grants, which range from $1,500 to $15,000, are intended to fund projects that will start sometime after the notification date. Further information on the grant program and application forms are available on the Arts Planning Council Web site, http://www.uchicago.edu/artscouncil/.

    “We’re hoping to get some more great ideas, especially from students––the more novel, the better,” said Baird. “And to offer a word of advice from (Chicago-based architect and city planner) Daniel Burnham, ‘make no small plans.’”

    Next quarter, in addition to UChicagoArts grants, the Arts Planning Council will offer a $3,000 prize for the best student design for its new Web site. The site, which will be the “Web entryway to the arts,” should express “what the arts are and can be at the University.” Rules and deadlines will be announced in early April on the Arts Planning Council Web site.