Coin-Operated
At last, an honest-to-god chance for local artists to make some real money. The United States Mint is inviting artists from throughout the country to participate in its Artistic Infusion Program (AIP), which trains outside artists to assist the Mint's staff in the creation of new coin and medal designs. Both professional and student visual artists are encouraged to apply. The Mint seeks up to 10 professional visual artists and up to six Student Designers (undergraduate or graduate-level artists) to join the master designers currently involved in the program, created to "help ensure a bright future for the tradition of American coin design."

Wannabe Associate Designers have until Sept. 15 to apply, and the Mint will accept applications from student artists from Sept. 15-Oct. 16. Applicants can find guidelines in an application packet available on the Mint's website, and they'll need to submit samples of their work along with a required design exercise. Point yourself to www.usmint.gov/artists for more info and to apply online. With some talent and a little luck, you could soon find yourself in some serious coin. – Christy Robertson

Handy Dandy
Local musician and composer Fernando Rivas has recently found himself on the payroll of one of the planet's largest media conglomerates: Disney. Earlier this spring, Rivas landed a contract from the House of Mouse to do the music underscoring for a new children's television show, Handy Manny. premiering on the Disney Channel Sept. 16.

"It's a multicultural show for preschoolers centering on a repairman and his talking tools," says Rivas, who describes Manny as "kind of a Latino Bob the Builder." Rivas earned a composition degree from Juilliard, and he's written extensively for television, radio, film, and theatre, composing background music, themes, and even corporate jingles. Handy Manny isn't his first stab at composing with kids in mind; in the late '90s, he contributed to PBS's Sesame Street. A refugee of Castro's Cuba as a child, Rivas spent his youth in Miami. So the show's style, he says, is a natural for his composition emphasis. "The style is Latin music at its core, but I also have elements of rock and R&B and jazz in there, and it can go more Caribbean or Mexican, depending on what's happening. There are a lot of chase scenes and people falling down and that sort of thing. So I can add some bongos or marimbas and stuff for those." – Patrick Sharbaugh

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