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PHOTO
Tim Gaudreau

Artist nabs $30K grant

By Jeanne' McCartin
features@seacoastonline.com

Eco-artist Tim Gaudreau, a Portsmouth resident, is winner of the 2005 Piscataqua Artist Advancement Grant. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation Piscataqua Region grant provides financial support up to $30,000 for one year to individual visual artists and craftspeople in the Piscataqua region, to promote their artistic growth. Gaudreau will receive the full amount.

"I’m beside myself," says Gaudreau when reached by phone earlier this week at his Button Factory Studio. "I think that there are just a lot of great and deserving artists in this community. I’m honored to be selected, … when it could have gone to so many people."

Gaudreau, who is also a professional photographer, combines video, photography, graphics and sculpture to create his publicly placed eco-art. The grant comes at a important time in his career he says. "I really need this money to launch what I want to do."

"I have several goals, I guess. One of the things going on for me is I’ve been thinking about how my work functions in communities, trying to shift people’s perspective about personal responsibility. And the last three years I’ve really embraced the collaboration as a possible means of dealing with these issues.

"With this idea of collaboration, my desire is to position myself as a visiting artist to academic institutions, and environmental organizations to do community collaborative projects that deal with local environmental (issues)."

The money will be used to prepare packages and presentations to targeted groups. It will also allow Gaudreau to travel to and take part in public art, activist and eco art conferences, and present his work to potential sights, venues and organizations.

"It’s not about extending a project I’ve done or am working on. It’s about doing new work," he says. "My intent is to use the grant to put myself in a position of doing a lot more projects. What I want to do is lay the groundwork."

He hopes to partner with a local organization on a project, particularly one involving water issues.

This is Gaudreau’s third attempt at the grant. He was a finalist in 2004. He says the process of applying has been beneficial, even when not receiving the financial award. "(Applying) gave me a lot of perspective, specifically with where my work has been, is now, and where I want it to go. … It laid the groundwork for getting (to goals), started me on the path of working really hard in the direction I wanted to take my work. I was surprised how far I’d come as a result of participating."

Gaudreau completed his MFA in studio art at the Maine College of Art and a BFA in photography at the University of New Hampshire. He has received numerous recognitions, including a 2003 Artist Fellowship from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and cultural exchange and exhibition grants to Brazil and India. He was commissioned by the state of New Hampshire for a Governor Arts Award: Arts Patron, and by Artspeak, Portsmouth’s Cultural Commission, along with collaborator Jennifer Belkus to create two public works for its "Overnight Art!" project. Gaudreau and collaborator Lesley Gaudreau received the Laureate Award, for the Voice & Vision, Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program. He has been involved in numerous regional public art projects and was the recipient of last year’s Spotlight Photographer Award. His work has been featured on WMUR’s N.H. Chronicle.

"The jury really felt this is art and bending the edges," says Molly Colman, GPCF program consultant, regarding Gaudreau’s win. " I think they were really excited, looking at it in the bigger way, how art challenges the community to think more deeply. I think it was that piece that the jury was really excited about. They felt that Tim was doing it in an imaginative way."

Fifty-one artists, from 24 communities, submitted applications for the 2005 Artist Advancement grant program. Arts represented were glasswork, painting, textiles, clay, sculpture, photography, mixed media and others.

The 2005 finalists are Sean Beavers, York, Maine, painting; Kim Bernard, North Berwick, Maine, Encaustic Painting & Sculpture; Alexandra de Steiguer, Farmington, N.H., Photography; Nancy Grace Horton, Portsmouth, N.H., Photography; Barbara Rita Jenny, Portsmouth, N.H., Digital printmaking & installation; Scott Kuckler, Stratham, N.H., Photography; Joseph Migliore, Rochester, N.H., Blown glass; Sherry Palmer, Durham, N.H., Painting; and Douglas Prince, Portsmouth, N.H., Photography.

Former recipients of the Advancement grant are Gary Haven Smith of Northwood, N.H., Kate Doyle, a painter from New Castle, N.H. and Maureen Mills, a potter from Portsmouth, N.H.

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