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Americans for the Arts and Kris Wine Award $25,000 in Grants to U.S. K-12 Arts Programs

Americans for the Arts and Kris Wine Award $25,000 in Grants to U.S. K-12 Arts Programs

Budget cuts nationwide continue to deplete school funding for quality arts education. Nearly 4 million elementary school students do not receive specific instruction in the visual arts, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and the Office of Innovation and Improvement.

In partnership with Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, KRIS wine has awarded $25,000 to 16 K-12 schools nationwide to support quality arts education programs. Consumers determined the grant winners last fall by voting for their favorite K- 12 public school on KRIS Wine's Facebook page. Funds from KRIS, one of America's fastest growing Italian wines, couldn't come at a more crucial time as budget cuts threaten arts education programs across the country.

"Support for the arts is critical today when the 'real' world demands creativity and originality," said Aaron Zuelke, Art Instructor at Holmes Elementary in Spring Lake, Michigan. "This generous gift has helped foster that in our school."

Holmes Elementary's fine arts program strives to give students a deeper learning experience by including elements of art history within art lessons. With the grant money, the school was able to purchase a $400 document camera, which allows art instructors to project images and accurately demonstrate techniques to large groups that would otherwise be impossible.

The winning schools from cities such as Los Angeles, California; Havre, Montana; and Jupiter, Florida, are using the grants not just for supplies but also to help implement hands-on projects and engage students in arts education activities that would have not been possible without the funds.

"We believe the money will greatly help us in continuing to provide an enriching educational experience," said Steve Hopkins, Principal at Kenmore Elementary (Kenmore, Washington), which plans to use the grant to host an artist in residence for the 2013 school year to conduct a series of visual art lessons with 500 students in its K-6 classes.

Among the other 14 schools, projects vary from supporting a week-long Festival of Arts celebration to purchasing supplies for students to create their own rendition of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night.

"Students who engage in arts programs are proven to be overall more successful academically," said Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts. "The decline in funding is an alarming trend given the extensive benefits a quality education in the arts provides. School leaders and business leaders agree that art education leads to creativity-an essential trait in America's 21st century workers. We are grateful to have a partner such as KRIS Wine that understands the important role art plays in our lives and the welfare of our communities."

Art is a guiding principle behind KRIS Wine as articulated in the brand's slogan, "Discover the Art of Wine" and illustrated in its labels. "We have always strongly believed in the importance of art education," says KRIS winemaker Franz Haas. "Winemaking is an art, and for seven generations our family has pursued this craft." The KRIS wine labels visually depict the brand's artistic expression with each one designed by contemporary Italian artist, Riccardo Schweizer (1925 – 2004), a close friend of the Franz Haas family who studied under Pablo Picasso. The artwork, which is unique to each wine, symbolizes the style and blending of art and science in the KRIS winemaking process.

Handcrafted in Alto Adige using grapes sourced from Italy's most exciting growing regions, KRIS is a product of seventh generation winemaker Franz Haas and his wife, Maria Luisa Manna Haas. In KRIS, Franz and Maria have combined their expertise and passions to develop a series of contemporary expressions of classic varietal wines reflective of the unique personality of Northeast Italy. For more information, visit www.kriswine.com.

Americans for the Arts is the leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. With offices in Washington, D.C. and New York City, it has a record of more than 50 years of service. Americans for the Arts is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of the arts. Additional information is available at www.americansforthearts.org.

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