Artist’s NameVictoria Van Tassel-McGrath
Address290 Sailor's Cove Drive
Unit #411
Moneta 24121
United States
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Tell us about you, the artist. Please include a few sentences of biographical information.

I am an artist who likes to think, analyze, and gather information about my subject before proceeding to create my body of work. I am a person who creates both intuitively and deliberately, using primarily water based medium in both a standard application as well as at times a montage or collage format. I use photography as a means to gather information in the planning process; sometimes I utilize photography as an art statement in and of itself. I love to combine my ability to write, compose music on my harmonica, and paint.
My biography is multi-faceted in scope, reflective of who I am today. I have decades of experience as a teacher, a watercolor artist, a recipient of art grants, a collaborator, and a community contributor, as reflected in my current social activities. For instance, As a volunteer organizer, I have implemented an art adventure group to tour art, musical, and theatrical venues. I organize this group either monthly or every other month to engage in art activities such as attending an exhibit at museum or art gallery, taking in a concert, or enjoying the theatrical performances in Fincastle at the Attic Productions facility amongst many other venues.
As a recipient of the earlier Artist Call for an Art Matters Grant, I am deeply engaged in the premise that everyone deserves a place of safety, warmth, and support. I have been very much impressed with the city of Roanoke to that end and hope that in procuring another Art Matters Grant I will be able to pursue this journey of art/learning/education to a more expansive degree. As I result of procuring this information, I hope to reveal my findings through documentation, music, and visual art that I create, uniquely my own.

Please describe your artistic practice including the media you work in and your approach to your art.

I write poems which I, in turn, apply to musical song on my harmonica. I keep journals, both in writing as well as in art. I take workshops from other artists when I seek new information. I engage in artist support forums, and try to show my work in the public arena as much as possible, whether through juried, local shows or area galleries.
I approach my work as one who gathers information, reflects on it, examines the reasoning behind why I want to create a particular piece, and then acts on that reflection in the creative process. I have enjoyed combining my interests in this way via the last Art Matters Grant I completed/delivered. These pieces can be viewed in the 4th floor hallway of the Roanoke Municipal Building. Learning so much about the issues that Roanoke deals with in regard to the unhoused has been eye-opening and live changing. On a very personal note, I have an older brother in another state who recently became very transient. Because of his personal issues, he could no longer make life decisions for himself and I became his guardian. I have, indeed, first hand experience and interest in the area of support for the marginalized and need for support/housing. I aim to create purposeful and meaningful art in order to bring about awareness to the community of the many needs of the unhoused. I do this through my interview processes, my photography/record keeping, musical ability, and the creation of an artwork that is reflective of this subject matter.

Describe the proposed work or project.

My goal is to create 6 pieces of art based on my interviews of a variety of folks who have experience with the unhoused. In my earlier grant, I touched upon facets of the following: Veterans, community leaders, prominent organizations, etc.
This grant’s goal, for me, is to expand on the theme of Housing Insecurity in finding out more information in the following 3 areas: Police, Church/religious organizations, and Fire Department. My scope of work will include interviews with personnel in all three areas to ascertain the challenges, insights, and approach each of these entities deploy when dealing with the unhoused community. What is their protocol? What are their stories? How are they making Roanoke a better community with their interactions and actions? In gathering this information I will be taking photographs, taking field notes, and deriving a wealth of information to steer my ultimate creative process.
The ultimate creative process will be reflected in the following:
2 Large format montages, framed and matted, ready to hang containing minimally 6 paintings reflective of the above mentioned organizations/institutions
A binder submitted for viewing containing reflections, notes and summarized portions of interviews, gleaned through my information gathering process.
A short musical rendition, on my harmonica, accessed by a QR code in tandem with the mood of the visual art work

How will the work advance wellness, justice, or inclusion in Roanoke? Consider a community issue that you hope to address, something you want to celebrate or a condition you want to change.

While touching base with and reaching out to the 3 above mentioned areas of service in the Roanoke Community I hope to be a conduit through my art by which there might be a greater respect for and appreciation of what these organizations do in their interactions with the unhoused.
I hope my finished work serves to bring a heightened awareness to the community at large for the ongoing challenges inherent in not having a place to live. How does this segment of the population interact with the Police, Fire, and Church. What are the challenges? What are the successes? What needs to be re-examined and rectified in some way perhaps? What are the possible avenues that need to be examined for improvements or possible change?

When do you anticipate undertaking the work? If the project is tied to a set event or date, let us know.

I would start on my work immediately as soon as I am notified in setting up contact information/interviews. My goal for completion of all aspects of scope of work would be November of 2024 if not sooner. I would seek several venues, as I have done in the past, to present my body of work, collectively, to the public as a means to bring further awareness to the areas I have described.

Are there partners in this effort? If so describe the partnerships and what each partner brings.

No, other than partnering with the departments/organizations I need to interview. I will work respectfully and judiciously in procuring information that will support my endeavors to fulfill my work obligations.

Your theory of change: How will the work advance your efforts as an artist toward an established goal? How will you, a partner organization, or the community be changed?

As I have journeyed through the earlier Art Matters Grant that I was previously awarded, I grew as an artist; an artist for change. I know that my work touched many as seen at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, Art on 1st Gallery, and the Municipal Bldg. I have also been solicited by a church outside of the Roanoke area, to speak to their community about my endeavors and address their interest in working with the unhoused. My established goals have been to bring this issue of housing challenges (which is obviously bigger than Roanoke, but is a paramount challenge of our society today) to the forefront of the community lens. I had hoped to bring, for instance, a visual, in your face, real moment when I created the isolated Vet left to his own on a city parkbench. I had hoped that the portrait of the mother and daughter, so thrilled in the ability to finally have their own home, would encourage others, perhaps, to get involved and volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. I had hoped, for instance that my painting of the close-up of the old house in Roanoke, a neglected by re-vitalized street, would convey a sense of fragmentation and weathered look of neglect, much as the homeless experience their lives. I believe, through my work as an artist and interpreter of these daily insights into life, I have accomplished the goals of encouraging involvement and community service. Again, as a future hopeful recipient of another Art Matters grant, I hope to be a vehicle for positive change in the community via my finished artwork, writings, and harmonica music. I hope to be the lens through which nothing is impossible, the lens of motivation, and compassion to all.

How much money do you need to accomplish the project? (The allowed range is $500 – $3,000.)$3000.; see budget attached; describes allocations in detail for use of the funds
What other resources do you need to accomplish the project?

I might seek out resources to promote the work when it goes on display to utilize more social media and public awareness. This will come later in the process, however. There is always the challenge, too, of where the work will go on display to reach a myriad of audiences. Habitat for Humanity served that need well last time, as the audience was not necessarily the typical one that would seek to go to an art gallery; not to negate the need for art galleries and museums. It is good to think outside the box.

Attach a full budget for your project. Include all costs and revenues. This can be a spreadsheet, word document, PDF, or image.Budget-31-Jan-2024.pdf
Submit your CV, resume, or brag sheet here.Van-Tassel-McGrath-Art-resume.pdf
Submit a PDF of up to five images representing recent projects or works. (Max file size 10 MB). This should be one file containing multiple images. This must be a PDF. Include captions describing the work. (A PDF can easily be made using the “print as PDF” function in MS Word or “Download as PDF” in google docs.)
Do you have general liability insurance coverage for your arts-based business, either through your own policy or through a project partner?I have a home owners policy which covers some aspects of my needs for insurance purposes.