FOCUS applications due April 17 to receive a grant for next year’s exhibit

Rua Pokladnik

Imagine getting awarded a grant to create an art project of your choice. That’s what happened to Priya Kothari, senior in management information systems, through FOCUS, an extension of the Student Union Board, which funds student art projects.

In order to apply for a grant, one must submit a proposal to the Focus committee, which is made up of both faculty and students.

Those interested may submit their proposal twice during the year. The first deadline is April 17, while the second deadline is during the fall semester. Up to $600 is awarded per project.

Each student who is awarded a grant is given approximately a year to complete the project. In April, an exhibit of the Focus projects is shown in the Pioneer Room of the Memorial Union.

This year’s exhibit includes projects that range from three-dimensional sculpture to photography.

“You can really do a project in any media,” Kothari said. “This year, there’s even the [Internet] art thing, which is the first time that has ever happened.”

Kothari’s project involves Persian tile design.

“I got interested in it because I took a Persian tile workshop at the Workspace last fall,” Kothari said. “I made a Persian tile, and I thought it would be neat to make an entire mural out of it because that’s the way Persian tiles are traditionally done, in mosques or paintings. I thought I could apply what I learned in the workshop and make a larger mural.”

Kothari said that working on her Focus project was an interesting experience.

“It was different from what I thought it would be,” Kothari said. “Most of the project involved painting the tiles, but the part that I thought was most interesting was actually making the design. When I was making the design, I took into account traditional Islamic designs, or Persian designs, which are always symmetrical. I really love geometry, so that was an interesting part of the project for me.

“I also used colors that are traditionally used in Persian tiles and Persian paintings,” she added.

Kothari spent quite a bit of time on her project. She said it took her approximately three hours to produce each tile. A total of 16 tiles were included in the project.

Kothari thinks more students should take advantage of FOCUS grants.

“I’d really encourage people to apply, especially people who are interested in art and would like to take on some sort of big project they don’t necessarily have the money or resources to do it, because this is all funded,” Kothari said. “It’s encouraging students to pursue the arts.”

If interested in applying for a Focus grant or serving on the Focus committee, Patricia Miller, Program Coordinator, can be reached at 294-9935.

The exhibit is on display in the Pioneer room and goes through May 1. A ceremony will be held in the M-Shop today at 4 p.m.