Collage by Evan Clayton Horback

by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS

On October 17, collagist Evan Horback and playwright Bryan Willis, both based in Olympia, were awarded funding through Artist Trust, a nonprofit organization that strives to enrich Washington state communities through support to artists. In total, 61 recipients across Washington received Artist Trust’s 2016 Grants for Artists Projects (GAP) funds, for a total award of $91,000.

Since opening its doors in 1986, Artist Trust has invested over $10 million in awards, grants, career training and residencies to working artists. The GAP was established in 1988 to “support individual arts in development, presentation, and completion of their work.” It’s one of Artist Trust’s flagship programs. Each year, peer-review panels from each award category (literary, media, visual and performing arts) select recipients based on artistic excellence, impact and feasibility.

Visual artist Evan Clayton Horback plans to use the GAP funding to expand his home workshop, where he transforms archival images to illustrate his own viewpoint. Originally from New Jersey, he studied visual arts and education in New York City before moving to Olympia in 2013.

“I moved here sight unseen and had to reconstruct my personal and professional connections from the ground up. In that respect, receiving GAP funding from Artist Trust is great because it allows me to represent myself and my work. It feels good to have just landed here but still receive regional support for what I’m doing.”

Horback continues longtime efforts to develop a body of work about cultural identification and marginalization. His solo exhibitions have been featured in galleries across the Pacific Northwest. “Since I moved to Olympia three years ago, I’ve noticed there’s a disconnect between the artistic community here and that of the greater Seattle/Tacoma areas. I think Artist Trust looked at my work and saw that if they took a chance with me, they could start to bridge that gap.”

Bryan Willis, a freelance playwright and Olympia native, will use GAP funding to work on his play Bicycle Noir—A Love Story on Wheels, widely considered a “love letter to his hometown.” The play debuted last August for a single-weekend showing but developed issues as it grew in scope. Willis is also playwright-in-residence at Northwest Playwright Alliance, a nonprofit organization he cofounded with Brian Tyrrell. That organization partners with Performing Arts in Tacoma, University of Puget Sound and the Olympia Family Theater to produce the annual Double Shot festival of overnight plays. Willis’s work has been featured on BBC and NPR and performed in Canada, Israel, Japan and the United Kingdom.

What: Artist Trust Grants

Learn more: email | Artist Trust