Artpreneur grants for UNCSA-affiliated startups stimulate social innovation, economic development

UNCSA Associate Professor Christal Schanes reached the pinnacle of her profession in 2012 when she brought home an Emmy for her work on “Saturday Night Live.”

A 2003 graduate of the School of Design and Production at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Schanes leveraged her MFA in wig and makeup design into a thrilling, seven-year run building wigs and styling hair for the stars of NBC’s award-winning variety show.

These days it is the work she does on the side — creating wigs free of charge for medical patients experiencing hair loss — that inspires her the most. And last fall, Schanes landed another big award that helped the artist leverage her passion for serving others into CHRISTALine Studios LLC.

“Working on ‘Saturday Night Live’ was extremely exciting, but the more profound work that I do is with the medical clients,” says Schanes, who now teaches an elective medical wig class at UNCSA in addition to her regular classes. “It resonates with me on such an emotional level. Just seeing the smile on their face when the wig goes on — they tell me how much it means to have their hair back and their dignity back. They look in the mirror and they look like themselves again.”

Schanes and Tonya Sheffield, a 2008 graduate of the University with a BFA in filmmaking, are recipients of the inaugural Chancellor’s Creative Startup Artpreneur Grants at UNCSA. Over the past eight months, the two artists have received business consultation, networking services and funding totaling $25,000. Made possible in part by the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts in partnership with the Chancellor’s Artpreneur Initiative, the grant is available to UNCSA-affiliated individuals who complete the Creative Startups Accelerator in Winston-Salem and agree to locate their enterprises in Winston-Salem for at least a year.

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Originally published June 13, 2018.

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