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UNT professor receives microgrant from Greater Denton Arts Council

UNT professor receives microgrant from Greater Denton Arts Council

UNT professor receives microgrant from Greater Denton Arts Council
July 08
13:00 2021

UNT professor Caron Dessoye was one of the Greater Denton Arts Council (GDAC) microgrant recipients.

“I think pride was the first thought [after receiving the grant],” Dessoye said. “I have done what I wanted to do with my life, and I have these new opportunities to pursue support.”

Dessoye has a master’s degree in fine arts in metals and jewelry. She became interested in this type of work 11 years ago when she took a metalsmithing workshop, then in 2016, took it to a professional level when she applied for a graduate program.

“When we chose our career path, we may or may not have support in that career path, but I think when you choose a career path like art, you have a really strong community support system,” Dessoye said. “I feel very supportive, very proud and excited.”

She said the best choice she made in pursuing her career was moving to Texas from Pennsylvania. Desssoye said GDAC helps the Denton community with grants to pursue their artistic careers. The council has been around for more than 51 years and started providing grants for artists about a decade ago. This year, every grant recipient was allowed to receive up to $500.

“This year, we were able to give grants to individual grants rather than art organization how we usually do,” GDAC Executive Director Georgina Ngozi said. “It was better to receive something than nothing at all.”

To earn the grant, Dessoye went through an application process that included photos of her work and a short essay about what the funds would go toward.

Support from friends and family is key to her success and future projects, she said. Knowing that people are behind her in everything she decides to do raises her excitement levels for each project.

“I got so much positive feedback from my friends and my art community,” Dessoye said. “It is very encouraging.”

Dessoye attributes some of her successes to her husband, a mentor from Pennsylvania, and two UNT professors, Umut and James Thurman, who have inspired her throughout her artistic journey.

“As an artist, Caron’s mind is very rich,” Umut said. “She is very creative and has many great ideas. She also works hard and fast, [and] in a short amount of time, she can design and execute beautiful jewelry.”

James said Dessoye paved her own path while developing new ways for her work to interact with its audience during her name at UNT.

“She is a determined and enthusiastic person who has energetically pursued her dream of creating a space for makers to come together, interact and support one another,” James said. “Despite the increased difficulties during the pandemic, she has still been able to move forward her dreams.”

In the near future, Dessoye plans on opening her own shop on N. Locust called Workbench, projected to open in mid-August with the help of her GDAC microgrant. Through her shop, she aims to make arts more accessible for the community.

She plans to sell metals, jewelry, clay, ceramics and gallery space while working with student populations to house an affordable space to display and sell works of art.

“The important thing that I want to do is to commit to the Denton community,” Dessoye said. “To me, that means being an inclusive place to all of Denton’s community, not just UNT students.”

Featured Image: The outside of the Greater Denton Arts Council building on July 3, 2021. Image by John Anderson

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Mahonri Mendoza

Mahonri Mendoza

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