SPIRIT OF STANLY 2024: Providing funding for artists, organizations

Published 11:57 am Tuesday, April 9, 2024

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Albemarle-based acrylic and mixed media artist Susan Lackey is among a number of area artists who have been awarded NC Arts Council Artist Support Grants, having been funded twice since 2018.

The most recent grant enabled me to purchase a double-mast easel,” said Lackey, who outlined the need for the larger mount in the grant application.

I had always been around corporate art in my past career with Duke Energy,” added Lackey, “and in order to be able to produce pieces that could be used in such areas (boardrooms, lobbies, hallways, etc.), as well as in various galleries, I found that I needed to produce larger paintings.”

She explained that the single-mast easel at her studio was neither sturdy enough nor wide enough to accommodate such larger pieces.

I’d have to paint with one hand and use the other to hold the canvas steady,” she said. “I also needed an easel that could give me the capability to raise and lower the piece.”

The grant, for $1,500, was funded, and Lackey was quick to express gratitude to Stanly County Arts Council Director Renee Vanhorn for her assistance through the grant-writing process.

The grant process is not complicated, but if you’re not familiar with the procedure, it can be tricky,” said Lackey. “(Renee) was very helpful along the way with her encouragement, advice and recommendations.”

In addition to her 2024 funding, Lackey was also a recipient of a Regional Area Support Grant (the forerunner of the Artist Support Grant) in 2018.

My father was an oil painter, and he always had art supplies and tried to interest my siblings in artistry…but I was the only one it stuck on,” she said. “I majored in art education at ECU, and taught art in Virginia before moving back to North Carolina.”

Lackey currently teaches privately and has taught classes at the Stanly County Arts Guild as well.

Artist Support Grants are funded through the North Carolina Arts Council and administered through 18 local arts councils. Stanly County’s region includes Anson, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond and Union counties. Interested artists may contact the Stanly County Arts Council at 704-982-8118 or stanlycountyartscouncil1974@gmail.com.

Toby Thorpe is a freelance writer for The Stanly News & Press.

This article originally appeared in the Spirit of Stanly magazine.