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Makayla Armstead - 2023 Sawyer J. Boyd Creatives Grant Recipient

Alpena, MI - September 2023

Earlier this month, The Sunset Project was honored to award Makayla Armstead of Alpena, Michigan, with a Sawyer J. Boyd Creatives Grant as part of the 2023 grant cycle!

This year's grant recipients each received $2,000 worth of funding to put towards resources that would help advance their personal creative endeavors and help them pursue their passions further.

We sat down with Makayla after the awards ceremony to discuss her unique story, why she applied, and what she is hoping to accomplish with her funding!


Hi Makayla - can you introduce yourself quickly for those who may not know you already?

Hi! My name is Makayla Armstead, and I am Graphic Designer from Lanchine, Michigan.

How would you describe your creative pursuit to someone unfamiliar with it?

My creative pursuit involves taking personal ideas and thoughts from others to create something special for them. For example, I have had people want portraits of their children but wish their mother/father who may have passed away to be in it. I then make a portrait of the children and add the grandparents into the artwork. It is special to create these types of things for people. I also do graphic design, where I work with others to form a logo or design for their brand. They then promote that design.

What or who inspired you to pursue a career in this space?

I have always been an artistic person from the moment I could remember and I have always known that this passion will never go away. I have been promoting a lot of my art on my own and I just recently got an amazing opportunity to be hired as someone who does this art work full time. With this opportunity, it has really opened my eyes to continue on this art path and make a real difference with my creations.

Can you share a memorable experience or milestone from your creative journey?

Working for Alpena Marc LLC is definitely the cherry on top to all of this. Creating designs for a company is a dream and it is also extremely fun. One of my favorite memories of when I was still creating custom art for people was when I got to see their reaction to their purchase. I made two canvases for one of their two dogs, one of which was about to pass away. Her reaction was amazing and it reminded me why I love doing this for people.

My most recent experience was getting a design of mine onto a boat. So far, it has been the coolest thing to see my art on boats, websites, t-shirts, etc.

How have challenges or setbacks shaped your approach and vision?

In the graphic arts world, technology and workspace is extremely important. Since I do have a graphic design job and I have done some freelance, there are times when I am working from home. The biggest setback is not having either the right equipment or enough equipment.

How do you envision your creative passion evolving over the next year?

I see myself doing a lot at the place I work at and I see myself being more involved with creations around Alpena. There is some exciting stuff happening in Alpena, and I can see myself being involved with that.

How do you plan to utilize your grant funding to further your creative journey?

I plan to use the grant money for two computer monitors, a work space for my house, and a subscription to Adobe, which is the most popular software for graphic design.

What advice or message would you share with someone looking to pursue their own creative dreams?

I say that people need to follow their heart and take the time to realize what they want in life. If creating any sort of art is something that you love to do, then keep on doing it! The best part about creativity is that the options are endless, and the world needs more of it.

Are there any social media profiles, websites, or other resources where our readers can follow your journey and/or support your work?

My art account on instagram is @makaylaarmstead_art!

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experience, dreams, or the impact of The Sunset Project on your creative pursuits?

The Sunset Project, Sawyer J. Boyd Creatives grant is extremely helpful to those who have a creative passion but could use more resources to better that passion. I am so grateful for this experience and highly recommend anyone who has any setbacks in their creative process to apply for this amazing grant. I am excited to see where this next year takes me and to use great equipment!

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