FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Cultural Alliance awarded mini-grants to a pair of local nonprofits this year, ICON Gallery and the Carnegie Historical Museum.
FCA President Denyce Rusch said the organization will not have its typical annual celebration in November where these awards would normally be given. Instead, Rusch and other members of FCA met representatives of ICON Gallery and the Carnegie Historical Museum in Central Park on Sept. 21 to hand out the grants.
Bill Teeple, owner of ICON Gallery, an art gallery on the west side of the square, said he appreciates all of the support he gets from the community and that receiving a grant from the FCA was “wonderful.”
“This is needed very much,” he said.
Teeple said the money will be used to purchase a printer for the art gallery because its last printer died.
Mark Shafer, director of the Carnegie Historical Museum, said the grant will go toward the museum’s new Victorian parlor display, a project six years in the making. Specifically, the money will pay for the work carpenter Dan Lamansky performed to put the finishing touches on the furniture. Shafer said it was a lot of work because the Victorian style has “no square corners.”
Shafer thanked FCA for the grant, and said a list of residents “as long as your arm” donated materials for the display or did other odd jobs. For instance, Paul Graber donated the antique woodwork, and Nancy Huff stripped it.
Rusch said FCA normally awards many more than just two grants per year, and the reason it awarded only two this year is fairly simple.
“We only had two applicants,” Rusch said.
Rusch suspects that organizations that would normally apply for a grant neglected to do so because the pandemic got them out of their usual rhythm. Nevertheless, she is happy that the grant awards are going to a pair of deserving causes.
“We want to support the organizations doing things despite the pandemic,” Rusch said. “The museum revamped a lot of stuff that it couldn’t have otherwise.”
Teeple said he’s not been able to hold a showing since the pandemic began. ICON Gallery is normally full of people on the first Friday of the month as part of art walk, but not this year. Teeple said he’s trying to find a way to stay afloat and remarked that the big art auction that generates $10,000 every two years will be online this year.
Jeff Fitz-Randolph, FCA treasurer, said the money for the group’s mini-grants comes from interest on the Cultural Trust Fund, which varies from year to year. The FCA will get a boost this year because they’ve learned that Hy-Vee will donate $1 for every reusable bag sold to a local nonprofit, and the company has chosen FCA to receive that money during October.