This year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it is having on the artist community, AFC Signature Member, Rob Butler and wife Sharon Butler - also an accomplished artist - proposed establishing a pilot grant concept, providing funds to support artistic exploration of human and nature interaction. Initially the grant will be administered through AFC's Canadian charity arm and made available to the AFC artist community. Based on the success of the program, we hope to extend the grant to future years and expand the opportunity to other artists in our community around the globe. AFC President and Founder, Jeff Whiting remarked: "During these unique times of hardship and personal challenge, we are thrilled to be able to expand our aim of providing artists, with special opportunities for artistic growth. We are grateful to the Butlers for their generosity and vision in the establishment of this new grant and hold hope that this inspired concept will be the catalyst for further inspiration".
Following is a summary of the pilot grant, titled the “Robert and Sharon Butler Art Exploration Grant”
During the COVID pandemic, many people are feeling isolated and disillusioned. Wildlife artists are fortunate to be connected to nature but many are missing social contact they had as artists. Sharon Butler, an acclaimed weaver knows the value of funding to allow exploration of art. She was a fortunate recipient of a Canada Council Grant early in her career which allowed her to create three dimensional woven hangings that were part of a recent retrospective called Modern in the Making at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Rob Butler is a Signature Artist with AFC. The pandemic offers a unique opportunity for an artist to take time they might have always wanted to create and explore new ideas in wildlife art. To that end, through AFC’s Canadian charity arm, the Butlers are offering a one-time grant of $5000 to allow a Canadian nature/wildlife artist and AFC member to explore a new area of wildlife art, especially at the interface of humans and nature. The award of up to C$5000 will be awarded to one winner or divided among more than one artist depending on the need and concept. The awardee must describe in no more than a page (250 words) how they intend to use the money.
The award and submission guidelines and intake schedule (TBD) will be advertised to through AFC channels. Submissions will be evaluated by AFC Board Members, and Robert and Sharon Butler.