Artisan Grants


Artisan’s Asylum’s community was built around the shared belief that everyone and anyone should be given the opportunity to make their ideas a reality. In that spirit, Artisan’s Asylum is proud to offer Artisan Grants, which provide Asylum services to those in financial need who have projects and ideas that are too awesome to pass up. It’s also our hope that these grants can help improve local businesses, teach marketable skills, and otherwise make the world a better place. Artisan’s Asylum is excited to enable your dreams.

Do you have an awesome project in mind but need to take a class to become proficient with the tools? Propose your project for an Artisan Grant and if selected we will help cover the class fee.

Already signed off on the tools of the trade and now want to make your family heirloom? Let’s hear your plan! An Artisan Grant can help pay for your membership fees and storage space during the extent of the project.

Are you a renter at the Asylum and have a idea you want to get off the ground? Pitch it to us! The grant can help pay your rent and you can focus on changing the world.

2017 Spring Grant Recipients

Hacker Creations                                                                                                                                                       
Melissa Glick, has been making art from recycled technology since she moved into the Asylum in 2014. Inspired her father’s collection, brought home while working at Raytheon from circa 1950 -1990. “What ever they threw out, he brought home. Our basement was like a history of technology museum.”

The Asylum grant will allow Melissa to learn to use the Shop Bot to make a shadow box drilled from a single piece of wood. She looks forward to seeing her chaotic aesthetic in contrast to the standardized frames and hopes to market them to gallery gift shops across New England. Melissa offers workshops at The Artisan’s Asylum and has a BA in Art History from SUNY Purchase and a Masters in Art Ed from Mass College of Art. You can see her work at

Made Elsewhere by Ngoc Tran Vu
“Made Elsewhere” is a public art sculpture inspired by the original Lady Liberty design by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. The sculpture, which will be assembled out of recycled and repurposed materials, is an ode to the labor of refugees and immigrants as well as a direct response to globalization and climate change.

As a multimedia artist and storyteller, I am interested in exploring narratives of migration and displacement through cultural exchange and visual stories. With the support of the grant, I will be taking classes to gain skills such as welding and brazing so that I can begin to create the sculpture’s prototype before assembling its large-scale installation in Spring 2018. In addition, I plan to connect and learn as much as I can from fellow makers in the Artisan’s Asylum community.

Andrew Ringler
Andrew Ringler is an artist, creative technologist, educator and maker. He creates interactive public installations that allow participants to create their own novel visual and auditory experiences. He challenges participants to invest time and effort learning new systems collaboratively, through that investment receive the pride of achievement and the joy of connecting with others. Ringler’s work takes inspiration from teaching, learning, creation, science and communication.

Art Screen Workshop is a two part project centered around interactive art and education. First, the project is a series of public workshops designed to teach people how to computer program, creating interactive artworks. Second, I created a publicly accessible interactive screen displaying the very artworks created during the workshops. The community at Artisan’s Asylum and this grant has been instrumental in helping complete this project. I am constantly prototyping at the Asylum, asking members for advice, and receiving valuable feedback about my latest iteration. Members gave me great advise on materials and fabrication, including help source some of the final materials. You can see his work at

Tam Sicay-Perrow
Tam is a creative problem solver. She started her career as a freelance graphic designer, working with clients on visual solutions for educational and promotional materials, and now my focus is on creating 3 dimensional solutions to real-world problems. Her understanding of artisanal to large scale production helps make my clients ideas a reality.

With this grant, she plan on making medium/large scale papercraft representations of the tools we use to make things; The Maker Tools. These would be suspended from the ceiling, hollow. The cardstock paperboard would be lasercut and hand assembled.

2016 Spring Grant Recipients

Norma Heller Studioswoo me
Drawing inspiration for her work from historical fashion and nerd culture, Norma manages to find beauty in simple functionality. Using carefully selected materials and useful features, she brings conceptual and sculptural costume pieces into daily life as wearable art.

With intent to flourish as a professional, full time artist I will be using this grant to round out my expertise and create work and market myself in three ways:
1. Instruction
2. Retail
3. Personality
As a private instructor and through the use of online resources I intend to make my methods part of the presence I am putting forward as both an artist and a personality. Creating ready-to-wear and custom clothing for performance and daily wear attracts attention I can funnel into this peek into my process. Using my Asylum studio space as the set for video tutorials I can create content for a Patreon that connects my audience to me and establishes me as a public personality and instruction resource. Over the next few months I will be documenting my work both in the studio and at events at which I can showcase my work.

@party is a “demoparty”, a computer arts festival primarily focused on creative coding of realtime computer graphics programs called “demos”, but also featuring still computer graphics, music, and hardware hacking. @party was founded in 2010 and has run annually ever since. In 2011 we became a program of the nonprofit organization Boston Cyberarts, Inc. We aim to promote the development of the demoscene in North America within the context of artistic, educational, and technological communities that share our goals, foster cross-pollination in the New England art and technology community, and encourage collaboration between current and future demosceners around the world.

@party 2016 will take place at Artisan’s Asylum from June 3-5 2016 in MPR1. The primary attraction will be the competitions, or “compos” for short. @party’s compos are a comparatively laid back opportunity to showcase new digital work and will take place on the evening of June 4th. Artisan’s Asylum members get into @party free and are encouraged to enter something in the compos, details are available at There will also be seminars, live performances, and showings of pre-existing demos on real hardware so that attendees can see how they actually behave on high end, obscure, or oldschool systems. For further information, and registration for non-Asylum members, please visit the @party website:

Free Computer Labsfcl
Devin Ulibarri and Julian Daich are both avid free/libre software advocates and active in the free/libre software community. Devin is a lead collaborator for the software Music Blocks, a Sugar Labs project that teaches children both music and programming. This software was debuted at the 2016 Constructionism conference in Thailand with great enthusiasm. Julian has prior experience teaching computer classes for three years using free/libre software in Madrid.

Free Computer Labs (FCL) is a grass roots project to bring computers to people in the community that need them. FCL aims to connect those who need computers with free, powerful technology and software. FCL will conduct classes at Artisan’s Asylum Fridays, from May 20th through June 17th. FCL will use grant funds to help prepare for classes and liberate computers for the class’ students.

Sal Mancinisal
I have always been involved in the arts. I’ve built sets and props for stage productions, worked in pencil and paper and taken a lot of photographs.

I started my woodworking career from an interest in restoring wooden view cameras. Here at the asylum I can learn how to make the metal parts of these cameras that I was never able to make before.


Sage Kochavisagek
I create environments for people to connect with each other or with their own inner peace. Since 2003, I have contributed numerous interactive, playful, and weird spaces, mostly for festivals. These light up, glow, rotate, purr, tickle, and delight. Sometimes I create the platform for others to express themselves.

By taking Skunk’s TIG welding class, I will be able to construct a steel stand with pinned joints and flat-plate feet for my piece, the Purry Furry ALL. This will simplify travel and set up, allowing me to display this piece at more festivals and galleries.

Past Grant Recipients

Kristy JohnsonKristy
Grant Recipient, Fall 2014
Project: Fabricating toys for special needs children


“I came to the Asylum with a cardboard cut out, basic electronics and a dream of fabricating toys for my son who has special needs. As a member, I am now using a combination of CAD software, the laser cutter, the CNC router, and a small electronics to both design and fabricate this project all under one roof. I have met so many people that have been so generous with their skills and willing to help me make what I imagine a reality. This would not be financially possible without the grants fund.”


Dan Sternof-Beyer, New American Public ArtDanSternofBeyer
Grant Recipient, Fall 2014
Project: Large scale interactive installation
“By using the Artisan’s Asylum’s tools and taking advantage of the resources offered by the community, my studio, New American Public Art, was able to create the Blue Hour installation in Camden, New Jersey. Named after the ‘blue hour’ of the morning, the installation is composed of ten light towers that respond to the motion of the people around them. The offset grant was enormously helpful because it let me focus my time where it mattered most–in the shop.”


Ecco Pierce, All Things EccoEcco
Grant Recipient, Summer 2014
Project: Various interactive projects, large and small


“Getting the Artisan’s Asylum grant freed me up from having to pick up fabrication work so that I could instead focus on projects that I’m more invested in. In July I helped bring and interactive installation to Figment. It was a lot of steel work and computer software and sound. I was able to send wares from my Etsy shop, All Things Ecco, to Burning Man. I also constructed the spire on top of Cosmic Praise at Burning Man.”


Rebecca HenriksenBoghosian_31kirsner14_BIZ
Grant Recipient, Fall 2014
Project: Mentored by Asylum Member Gretchen Greene

Photo by Aram Boghosian.

“Working at the Artisan’s Asylum with Gretchen Greene has taught me many things. My initial task was to research coloring techniques for steel, including various patinas, oxides, and gun bluing. A particular highlight was driving to the Hammond Museum in New York to deliver several of Gretchen’s pieces to the Goelet Gallery for the juried ‘Visions Revealed’ exhibit. I am incredibly grateful to have received this grant to be able to work in the Asylum with Gretchen and to Gretchen for allowing me to come alongside her as an assistant and mentee.”


Q : What is an Asylum Grant?

A : An Asylum Grant is funding that helps cover your costs of using the Artisan’s Asylum.


Q : What costs can the Grant be used to cover?

A : Membership fees, storage space, studio rental, and some class fees can be funded with an Asylum Grant.


Q : Do I need to be a member of the Artisan Asylum to apply for a grant?

A : Absolutely not. We encourage everyone to apply.


Q : How much money is an Asylum Grant?

A : You may be awarded anywhere between $100 – $1000 (maybe more) in offset funding.


Q : What makes a strong application?

A : A solid idea that will have real results. We are going to follow up with you about project documentation and how you leveraged the grant funds.


Q : Does my project need to be brand new, or could it be something I’ve been working on?

A : It could be either. We understand this isn’t a ton of money and it only covers certain things. We hope that this funding pushes your project to the next level, whether that be the first step or the finishing touch.


Q : How do I apply for an Asylum Grant?

A : Fill out this form! – Apply for an Asylum Grant


Q : What is proper documentation of my project?

A : A part of your duties after you get an Asylum Grant is to document your project. Every month you agree to send at least one JPG image (minimum size 960×640, 72dip) to grants-com [at] artisansasylum [dot] com. If you have questions about how JPG images please ask.


Help us help others

The Artisan’s Asylum Grants Fund goes towards providing Asylum services to those in financial need and to occasional awesome projects.

The Asylum is a diverse community with one thing in common: Making. We want to extend that community to a wider and even more diverse group of people, and to enable dreams that are bigger than those that one person alone can realize. Help us help others, and please donate now.

If you’re a member of the Asylum community, you already know how great this place is and how it has changed lives already. We need to keep that dream alive and growing, and share it with more people. All funds will fall under the terms of the AG1 Grant Fund.