Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli

I received this from Americans for the Arts and thought you'd be interested!

Yesterday, Congress passed a $12.5 million funding increase as part of the FY 2010 Interior Appropriations bill for both the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). President Obama is scheduled to sign this bill into law by October 31, which concludes National Arts and Humanities Month. The nation's two federal grantmaking cultural agencies will now each have budgets of $167.5 million, their highest funding levels in 16 years. As so many state and local governments have had to cut arts budgets across the country, this well-timed federal appropriations increase for the arts is a welcome infusion of funds.

Enacted FY09

FY10 Final Interior
Appropriations Bill

FY09 vs. FY10 Difference


$155 million

$167.5 million

$12.5 million increase


$155 million

$167.5 million

$12.5 million increase

The FY 2010 Interior Appropriations bill (H.R. 2996) was passed in the House by a vote of 247­­-178 and in the Senate by a vote of 72-28. Please play your part and send a quick e-mail to your members of Congress at the Americans for the Arts E-Advocacy Center and let them know how much the arts will benefit from this funding increase.

Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli
My Creative Life is a weekly interview, with the same five questions, with folks who are living authentically, creatively, and making a living out of their passions.

This week I’m honored to have Holly Friesen, a creative woman with paints and with poetry. Most of her paintings reflect the natural environment but it's her figure paintings that really got me hooked on her work. Be sure to check out her lovely, calming creations at
Twitter @Holly59

1. What do you do? (career wise - whatever you want to share)
I am a working painter. Inspired by the living, breathing landscape around me, particularly the ancient rocks of the Laurentian mountains in Quebec.

2. How did you prepare for this career? (formal and informal education, books, workshops?)
Formally I studied Fine Arts at John Abbott College in Montreal where I was able to explore every medium from photography to printmaking, sculpture to performance art. From there I went on to York University in Toronto to study Fine Arts majoring in painting. I found the university environment to be stifling and confining and after three years, cashed in my scholarship, bought a motorcycle and headed for California. This bike trip was the beginning of my career as an artist. I carried a portable watercolor kit with me wherever I traveled. I learned to observe closely, to see beneath the surface and reveal what I saw in paint. I traveled and looked at great Art everywhere I could as well as studying with many different artists in different mediums. I sat with the rocks, rivers and forests and listened.

3. Besides living according to the values of creativity and independence, what other values are you honoring by following this path?
I am following what brings me spontaneous joy! This is both a blessing and a curse but I have no choice. I am following the path of all those who have gone before me and all those who will continue on ahead of me. The path of most resistance, the one where everyone keeps telling you not to do what you do so you have to be sure enough of your vision to follow it anyway. I have learned to trust my intuition and let it guide me.

4. What struggles or challenges do you face, if any?
Doubt. Always the gnawing doubt that I am not good enough to call myself a painter. Also,the images that evolve and want to express themselves come from deep within and reveal themselves through dreams and visions. Revealing these inner images can leave one feeling vulnerable and exposed. Viewers negative or positive criticism can be disruptive to the process so there is always a need for shielding & balancing the inner with the outer visions.

5. Can you give some advice to folks who would like to do what you do?
Do whatever it is that brings you joy, the rest will follow naturally; leading you to work
many, many hours with an unparalleled discipline and and devotion to what you do. To learn what you need to know, do what you love, live your passion!
Gabrielle Javier-Cerulli
I'm in awe of this process! Hope you enjoy it too.