Veterans photography project Image Nation loses grant money |

Veterans photography project Image Nation loses grant money

Professional photographer Michael Llewellyn goes over the basic functions of a camera by showing off the inner workings of a 4x5 large format film view camera during an Image Nation workshop with area veterans in May. The Image Nation workshop program, which connects veterans with Llewellyn, has lost the grant funding for its third season.
Elias Funez/ |

The Nevada County Arts Council has lost a $10,000 grant for the Image Nation project because of “unintended representation” in its application, cutting short the veterans’ photography initiative.

Arts council members learned this week that the California Arts Council would withdraw the grant, initially approved in June. Ayanna Kiburi, interim executive director of the state arts council, said the contract awarding the grant was terminated after she learned the local arts council’s application had misrepresentation. She declined to give specifics.

“It’s just that there was some misrepresentation so we are not continuing with the contract,” Kiburi said, adding that no grant dollars were dispersed.

Eliza Tudor, executive director of the Nevada County Arts Council, said she took full responsibility for the faulty application.

She didn’t thoroughly review the application before submitting it, and included a letter crafted for a signature from the Women Veterans Alliance of Nevada County.

Tudor said she’ll often draft recommendation letters for organizations and then ask them for approval.

“We did not remove this unsigned letter of support in time before the grant was submitted,” Tudor said.

Yesenia Henshall, chapter director of the Women Veterans Alliance, said she contacted the state arts council after learning the letter was part of the grant application. Henshall said she never approved the letter being sent in her organization’s name and told Tudor she wouldn’t sign it, saying its message was too strong.

Tudor said she sent the letter to Henshall for review and never heard from her. Then she inadvertently left the draft letter, unsigned, in the application.

Tudor said she’ll send the Women Veterans Alliance a formal letter of apology.

The grant would have funded the third season of Image Nation, which connects professional photographer Michael Llewellyn with veterans. The veterans’ photos have been displayed on both sides of Nevada County.

An Image Nation exhibit is still planned to open in November. However, it will feature photography from a prior season. A series of workshops that would teach photography to veterans, and the creation of a webinar, won’t occur, Tudor said.

Tammy Becker, chairwoman of Welcome Home Vets, Inc., praised Image Nation. Her group served as a partner to the local arts council in the grant, and she plans to continue working with it.

“We totally support Image Nation,” Becker said. “We totally support Michael Llewellyn. It has definitely benefited veterans.”

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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