West Hollywood presents grants to three artists

Independent Staff Report

WEST HOLLYWOOD — The city has presented three $5,000 grant awards to artists Tristan Kilmer, Samantha Lavin, and Antonio Rael for its 2021 WeHo Artist Grant program.

The artist grant program, initiated in 2018, provides direct support for artists living in West Hollywood to nurture and support their talent.

By providing artist grants, the city aims to keep artists in the city while attracting new artists who contribute to the quality of daily life in the city, a city spokesperson said.

The city’s Performing Arts and Cultural Affairs Subcommittee reviews eligible applications and makes recommendations to the city’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Commission for the artist grant awards. The City Council provides final approval.

Kilmer is a senior industry artist who received a bachelor’s of fine arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts in experimental animation. His professional work includes being a previsualization artist at Digital Domain, where he worked on “Star Trek Picard” and “Freeguy,” an animator at Halon, a key layout artist at MPC and an animation director at One Roof Entertainment.

He said hopes the grant will allow him to improve the performance of his digital actors.

Lavin is an award-winning director, assistant director and writer who has worked on film and television projects including: “Lucifer,” “The Mayor” and “Criminal Minds.” She has served on the Lesbian and Gay Advisory board of West Hollywood as well as Women for Sobriety Center; an organization serving formerly incarcerated women.

She intends to utilize the grant to continue to create and build opportunities for other artists to do the same.

Rael is a visual artist who has been a resident of West Hollywood for the past 30 years. He has created artwork and donated artwork for causes in the LGBTQ community. He hopes that the grant will support the creation of new paintings, which bring positive imagery to the community.

Previous recipients of the WeHo Artist Grant include, in Carolyn Campbell, Fletcher Crossman, Carolina Hoyos, Ryan McCann, Felice Picano and Don Tinling in 2020; and Matthew Finley, Rachael Mason, Brian McCarty and Steven Reigns in 2019.

The city held a virtual event highlighting the accomplishments of the 2020 WeHo Artist Grant recipients Dec. 10 with members of the City Council joining grant recipients who shared stories of the challenges they faced as the year took shape as well as how they were able to find unexpected opportunities, grow as artists and learn entirely new paradigms — fueling their creative spirit.

A video from the event is viewable on the city’s WeHo Arts YouTube channel at www.bit.ly/wehoartsYT.