FARMINGTON — Less than a month into 2014, the Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation has already awarded nine scholarships and grants.

Since its start in April 2013, the foundation has received about 25 applications and has awarded 23 of those applicants with grants and scholarships.

The applicants will present their work in April at a gala at the Farmington Museum.

As the applications came in, the seven member board evaluated each one and determined how much to award the applicant.

"Some of them just didn't fit with the guidelines," said Mick Hesse, a board member.

Hesse and Cathy Pope, another board member, said few of the 23 recipients of grants and scholarships received the full amount they asked for.

Mick Hesse speaks at the Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation gala at the Farmington Museum in April 2013.
Mick Hesse speaks at the Connie Gotsch Arts Foundation gala at the Farmington Museum in April 2013. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

For example, when the Piedra Vista High School Band Boosters applied for assistance paying for the band's spring trip to New York, the foundation decided to help them cover the cost of their fundraisers, such as Krispy Kreme donut sales.

Applications were accepted all year, unlike other groups that gave scholarships and grants for artists.

"I think we didn't want to be restricted to a time frame," Hesse said. "We saw no reason to be defined by time."

He said several of the applicants learned about the foundation throughout the year and would not have been able to apply if there had been application deadlines.

"We just wanted to make it as easy as possible for the artists and art organizations within San Juan County," Pope said.

Hesse said the foundation has strict guidelines that no money is given out until the program or event has already taken place. Then, the artist or organization is given money to reimburse them for the expenses incurred.

In 2013, Mann Dance Academy asked for assistance putting on their "Nutcracker" production. Because the production was at the end of December, the academy received its grant this month.

In addition to grants, the foundation also gives out scholarships for instrumental lessons and music camps. Daniel Fear, a teacher at Mesa View Middle School and Piedra Vista High School, received a scholarship to help pay for his online master's degree.

This year, the foundation hopes to give out a wider variety of awards.

"I would like to see more people apply for visual arts," Hesse said.

The majority of awards given out in 2013 were for music or performing arts. Only two awards were given to visual arts -- The Three Rivers Arts Collective received a grant for the Loose Ladies art show and Caitlin Mills-Fleagal received a scholarship to study digital arts.

Another area the board would like to see more applications from is literary arts, partially because the organization's namesake, the late Connie Gotsch, was a published author. The foundation has yet to see an application for literary arts.

For people who want to apply for a scholarship or grant, the paperwork can be found on the website,

"There's nothing to lose and potentially lots to gain," Pope said.

Hesse said the foundation is a wonderful legacy for Gotsch to leave behind.

"It has the potential of significantly impacting the arts of San Juan County," Hesse said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.