Maritz and the Arts and Education Council Announce $30,000 in Grants

Maritz, in collaboration with the Arts and Education Council, announced today that it has awarded $30,000 in grants to eight arts education projects in the St. Louis bi-state area through the award-winning Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers. Maritz and the Arts and Education Council partner to offer this unique funding opportunity to individual schools and nonprofit organizations to support projects and opportunities that encourage creativity in the classroom; the grants are administered by the Arts and Education Council and supported by Maritz. The distinctive funding program enables teachers to apply directly for a grant. Awards are granted at the beginning of the school year.

"Four years ago, we partnered with the Arts and Education Council to create the Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers to provide critical funding for art education projects in schools and nonprofit organizations throughout the St. Louis area that would otherwise go unfunded," said Debbie Schirmer, Maritz community affairs director.

"At Maritz, we are dedicated to empowering people to reach their full potential, and our philanthropic efforts reflect that same commitment. By partnering with A&E, a respecTed Grant maker that solicits applications and manages the grant process for us, Maritz is able to provide students with unique learning experiences that stimulate creativity and further educational advancement," Schirmer added. "Many outstanding students have benefitted from this program by participating in artistic endeavors that have ultimately led to college scholarships that enable them to pursue their education in the arts."

In January 2012, the Gateway Center for Giving awarded Maritz its 2011 "Giving is On Time Award," part of its Excellence in Grantmaking program, for the Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers. This award recognizes grant makers who provide funding to meet the immediate needs of nonprofits and clients in the community, or worked closely with a nonprofit to help them realign their programs and strategies to better meet the needs of their clients and the community during these difficult economic times.

"Maritz has made a real difference in the lives of students whose schools have been hit hard by dramatic funding reductions in arts programs," said Cynthia A. Prost, president, Arts and Education Council. As a community leader with a focus on improving educational opportunities across our region, Maritz is an example of how businesses can partner with A&E to craft programs that have broad outreach and impactful results."

This year's applications were evaluated by a group of community leaders at the Centene Center for Arts and Education. The ultimate goal of this program is to support classroom-based projects and artistic opportunities that engage students in the process of being creative. The 2013/2014 grant recipients are:

Margaret Buerkle Middle School, St. Louis - The Tintype Experience: Making "Photographs" during the Civil War

During an extensive interdisciplinary unit involving social studies, English language arts, mathematics, music appreciation, physical education and art, the entire seventh grade will gain knowledge of life during the Civil War era by participating in a "Civil War Day" involving hands-on activities. Students will participate in a demonstration on the tintype (daguerreotype process) and create their own tintype using foil.

Carondelet Leadership Academy, St. Louis - Guitars for CLA

A guitar program will be offered to students in Carondelet's newly expanded middle school through an instrumental music elective option. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to play various styles of guitar music while performing as part of an ensemble.

Grand Center Arts Academy, St. Louis - Makerspace Artistic Innovation

This grant will enable 250 students at Grand Center Arts Academy to learn and experience Design Thinking Cycle. Using a 3-D printer and other prototyping media, students will implement artistic solutions for real-world problems. Products will be presented at an end-of-year fair.

Katie Harper-Wright Elementary School, East St. Louis, Ill. - Accelerating Achievement through the Arts

This project is an initiative between Wright Elementary and Anointed Feet Academy to provide performing arts enrichment programming three days a week to students in third, fourth and fifth grades. Rotating groups of students will participate in two 30-minute music classes and two 60-minute dance classes each of these days.

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