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Tajha Chappellet-Lanier here, thinking about the ways in which the pandemic has changed our lives. There are the everyday public health and safety ways, of course (masks, social distancing), and the big, virus-related ways like financial hardship, illness and death. But there are also, I think, opportunities that have presented themselves specifically due to the way the pandemic has shifted what feels possible and reasonable since March 2020.

For myself, it is unlikely that I would be here, writing to you, if not for the events of the past 21 months. But I’m grateful that I am, and delighted by how often I find this is something I have in common (broadly speaking) with the people I interview.

Hannah Brimer is a visual artist who moved to Monterey in January 2020 for a couple of professional opportunities. But then: Covid. “I had lost both my jobs in a matter of six months living here and didn't have anything to connect me to the area,” Brimer recounts. She was considering leaving, but then connected with Monterey Glassworks owner Nate Sambar, who had the vision to create an artist residency in his Sand City glassblowing studio. Brimer, who had never worked with glass before, became the first resident artist. Now, she’s also MGW’s sales and marketing manager.

“Because I stayed I got to have an Art Residency at MGW, create a mural during the we.Art festival, help host First Fridays partnering with Night Market 831, paint a mural at Dirty Girl Plant Co., and so much more,” Brimer writes. “I have been able to connect with so many amazing locals who have really made Monterey home for me.”

MGW wants to continue fostering local artists through its residency program. In 2022 the studio plans to host six artists in total—two each during a spring, summer and fall/winter residency. The plan is to have one artist in each duo be local. The residencies will last two weeks, and MGW will work with the artists to coordinate the exact dates. 

The residency is open to both glass and non-glass artists who align with the studio’s mission around sustainability and community. It could be an opportunity to learn new skills and techniques, or put the finishing touches on a complex project. “We want perse artists here,” Brimer says. 

For more information, and to apply, see the application form here. The deadline is Monday, Dec. 20.

-Tajha Chappellet-Lanier, associate editor, tajha@mcweekly.com

P.S. The Monterey County Gives! campaign is currently underway through Dec. 31. Today's Spotlight is I-HELP, which is raising funds to provide overnight shelter to homeless inpiduals, a service that was suspended during the pandemic but has been revived. Learn about their important work—and that of 169 other nonprofits—in this year's campaign, and please donate to support their efforts. 

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