Fiber artists Erika Cleveland and Stacy Cantrell were voted to be the newest grantees at the third CRAVE event, hosted by the Torpedo Factory Art Center and Convergence on Saturday, March 28. They received a record $1,581 for their project, Materialized Magic.
CRAVE (Creating Resources or Artistic Vision and Engagement) is a micro-granting dinner. Cleveland and Cantrell were among four groups of presenters who pitched their idea during a community dinner. Afterward, attendees democratically select which project to fund. The size of the grant they received at the close of the night was determined by ticket sales and donations to the kitty.
“The beauty of CRAVE is that it engages the community with creative work that’s happening right here at home,” said Lisa Cole Smith, pastor and artistic director at Convergence. “The on-the-spot grants provide resources for artists and creators who don’t fit neatly into oftentimes limited arts funding categories.”
“CRAVE connects like-minded people who want to learn about and support emerging arts programs in the region,” said Eric Wallner, CEO of the Torpedo Factory. “It such a unique program or our region and we are happy to see it grow.”
Materialized Magic is a mixed-medium collaborative fiber-art community that works primarily in crocheting, knitting, and felting. Cleveland and Cantrell intend to organize weekly yarn-bomb sessions, where fiber artists will build a collective habitat from their individual creations.
Through this program, they hope to provide free lessons to the community and shine a light on the contributions of the fiber artists who participate. Any materials that are left over at the close of the project will be donated to nursing homes, community centers, and other nonprofit organizations. The grant money will be used to purchase supplies, which will help ensure there is no cost to participate.
Cleveland, an associate artist with the Torpedo Factory Artists’ Association, is a former registered and board-certified art therapist with experience working with children, adolescents, and the elderly in hospital, day treatment, and mental health settings. She taught art therapy at Lesley University and Emmanuel College in Boston. She is now a healing-doll artist and the founder of Transformative Healing Dolls. She offers art and writing workshops for women experiencing major life transitions.
Cantrell learned to crochet at age 4 and became an expert making everything from scarves to doll clothing. Over time her style has developed into a free-form exploration, and she’s been creating macro three-dimensional works. She participated in the Smithsonian Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Exhibition as a featured artist and also created work for Artisphere’s Yarn Bomb. Cantrell holds a master’s in the history of decorative arts from George Mason University.