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Community Arts Grants Fund Announces Columbia County Individual Artist Award

Columbia County Council on the Arts is pleased to announce the recipient of the Individual Artist regrant award through the Community Arts Grants Fund Decentralization Program. The grants are competitive and represent the presentation of two $2,500 awards annually..

The Decentralization – Individual Artist Tier is funded by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) to provide support for artists in the production of new, original work. The awards are intended to benefit the artist by creating a dialogue with a community that inspires or impacts the artist’s creative process and by encouraging personal artistic growth. Proposals are sought from the areas of music composition, choreography, literary arts, playwriting, film, and visual arts. The 2015 round of submissions distinguished itself as among the highest quality the program has received in several years, making the reviewers’ decisions exceptionally difficult.

After thorough deliberation, a panel of working artists from Greene and Columbia Counties recommended Isabel Barton of Hudson as this year’s Columbia County-based lndividual Artist Grant recipient. Draga Susanj was selected as the Greene County recipient.

Barton is a Venezuelan born filmmaker, photographer and writer. Early in her career she was awarded the National Award for Photography in Venezuela (1972), mentored with William Garnett at UC Berkeley, and earned a BFA in Photography (School of Visual Arts in Manhattan). From 1979 – 2001 her visual and literary expressions were published internationally and her photographs and silkscreen work showcased in galleries and museums throughout the US.

Isabel’s foray into film began in 1999 and quickly produced results including three experimental shorts (Christina’s World, Red Dot, and Julie of the Spirits), the last a collaboration with composer Peter Wetzler which premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival and went on to screen at Gallery (2002, NY); Nohra Haime Gallery (2003, NY) and the Meade Museum at Amherst College (2003, MA). Barton’s accomplishments also include four screenplays and co-authorship (with Mariana Hellmund) of The Aspern Papers, a modern adaptation of the Henry James novella. The two, together with Andrea Roa, coaxed The Aspern Papers into a feature composition currently touring the international film festival circuit. Current projects include a feature-length documentary The Making of a Chief, about Pemon Indian Horetensia Berti. Making of a Chief has received strong support from NYSCA, Peter S. Reed Foundation, and NYFA.

Barton’s $2,500 Individual Artist award will assist in the creation of Lucky, a short narrative film produced with 14 year-old Antonia Bellamy-Talbot. The story which unfolds around a youthful fictional main character is described by Barton as “a portrait of the city,” in which “Hudson’s colorful personalities will play themselves.” Real life shop keepers, police officers, students, and others positioned within “the city’s architectural and historical resonance, grit and cultural diversity, will enrich and give texture to the film.” In this new project as well as in her overall practice, Barton’s intent “is always to portray what I see in a way in which a new space rises where we—I as creator and my viewers—can experience a shared sense of reality.”

Please join us in congratulating Isabel and Draga watch this space for updates on their projects as the year unfolds. For more information on the Individual Artist grants program in Greene, Columbia & Schoharie Counties, contact Director of Community Arts Grants Colette Lemmon at 518-943-3400 or

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