Dreams made reality through program, patrons

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Matt Martin, Kym Affinito and Christin Kruse all sat in Kruse’s office at the Lakeside Legacy Arts Park with one thing in common: their dedication and love for art.

Moments after sitting down with each other, Affinito told Martin that her brother, Vinnie Foglia, would be sponsoring him for a year.

Martin would be provided with a studio at the Dole Mansion to use however he pleases.

“Wow,” Martin said.

It was the only response he could muster at the time.

Moments later, Martin was roaming the hall, searching for the perfect studio. He found it in room 318.

Martin is one of three young artists being sponsored through the Patron of the Arts program that is run through the Lakeside Legacy Arts Park.

The scholarship program allows community members to sponsor young artists in need.

Artists apply to the program by submitting a personal statement and letters of recommendation and having an interview.

Artists also can be nominated by art professionals.

The scholarship includes a one-year lease for a studio at the Dole Mansion, which costs supporters between $3,900 and $4,500.

“It gives me a stress-free environment that helps me get my stuff together,” fellow scholarship artist Jamar Slack said. “It will give me a chance to build up a portfolio.”

To repay the support provided by patrons, sponsored artists take on projects that serve the community. Edward Boyce, the third sponsored artist, works with people with mental and physical disabilities at Lisa Vachta’s Art Ventures in Crystal Lake.

Artists of any medium, whether visual, performance or musical, can apply for the program.

“We really want to bring people into this building,” said Kruse, community development director for  Lakeside Legacy. “You know the patrons support the artists, then the artists support each other, and it’s just amazing.”

The program’s first patron, Affinito, decided to sponsor two artists because of her past experience with trying to make a living as an artist.

“I spend so much time with work now I don’t have time to do my art,” Affinito said. “[By sponsoring] I get to fulfill something I can’t be doing. It is great to watch these kids working for their dreams.”

Lakeside Legacy still has several studios available for artists who hope to be sponsored through the Patron of the Arts Program.

“It is just great to be able to see these young people blossom,” Kruse said.

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