Foundation for Roanoke Valley has announced that it has awarded $60,000 in grants to four organizations under its new three-year $300,000 Arts & Culture Initiative. The initiative, funded through the Foundation’s Community Catalyst Funds, has two distinct focus areas.
“Educate. Inspire. Create.” is designed to significantly enrich the arts and cultural experiences of preK-12 students of public and private schools within the cities of Roanoke and Salem and the counties of Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke. Artist-in-residence or master class programs, the purchase of innovative technology, and in-school performances built around a specific educational topic and conducted by local arts and cultural non-profits are all parts of this effort.
“Arts at Work” will provide grants to carefully selected Roanoke Valley arts and culture projects that have an important and identifiable economic development component, strongly contribute to the overall vibrancy of the community, and which otherwise might not be possible. The production of public art work, the production of community-wide arts and cultural events and performances and bringing major arts and cultural exhibits to the Valley will be funded by the community foundation under this portion of the initiative.
The following grants are the first awards from “Educate. Inspire. Create”: Jefferson Center Foundation received $30,000 to support an interactive Song Project. This project will focus on expression, literacy, self-esteem, collaboration and cultural awareness, as artists lead local students through the process of songwriting, from brainstorming to writing lyrics, creating musical accompaniment, performing and recording. Roanoke Children’s Theatre received $11,500 to support the “Making History LIVE! Jamestown!” program. The program targets 4th grade students in all Roanoke City and County elementary schools and will introduce students to theatre and the production process. The students will rehearse, create, design, and perform a play based on the history of Jamestown. Craig County Public Schools received $9,425 for Craig County High School’s Art Department to purchase new, innovative technology in order to encourage students to pursue graphic design studies. Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia received $9,075 to support its ImageMakers program. ImageMakers encourages Club members to learn and practice black-and-white, color, digital and alternative process photography, it exposes the youth to cutting-edge technology curriculum and provides opportunities to showcase their artistic talents, and it enables them to express and develop their creativity with still-images and videos.
“This award allows Music Lab at Jefferson Center to expand its impact on young people in our region through the power of song,” says Dylan Locke, artistic director at Jefferson Center. “The Foundation’s generous support means we can take the Song Project into four Roanoke area schools. The exciting new program provides elementary age students the guidance and drive to find their voice through a collaborative song writing process with professional musicians and instructors. Each Song Project culminates with a full, professionally recorded album to showcase the talents of our area students and highlight what they have learned throughout the artistic process, and the CDs can be sold to support the school.”
Jon Murrill, art educator at Craig County High School, noted, “Our goal as art educators is to inspire our students to become successful and enjoy careers they are passionate about. This grant provides our students with wonderful new technology that will allow them to access that first step in the ladder to a successful career, potentially in graphic design.”
Amanda Mansfield, director of development for Roanoke Children’s Theatre, said, “This grant reaches to the core of our mission, which is to creatively educate and inspire young people. It is everything we do, every day. We can’t tell you how much it will mean to us to be able to share our spark with every 4th grader in Roanoke City and Roanoke County Schools!”
Kayla Hastrup, grant writer and development associate with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia, added, “We are thrilled to be the recipient of this grant. Through our ImageMakers photography program we will actively engage Club members in innovative, nontraditional arts experiences that will advance their academic success through technology and demonstrate their creative awareness through various art platforms. This is a fabulous opportunity for our kids; one that will provide lifelong learning, as well as joyful memories.”
Applications for the Foundation’s Arts at Work will be available online at www.foundationforroanokevalley.org beginning August 1st.