Wash Arts receives $200,000 grant
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation recently approved a $200,000 grant to the Washington Community Arts and Cultural Center (Wash Arts) for the formation of a Rural Arts Collaborative (RAC) in Southwest Pennsylvania. Wash Arts will serve as the convener and fiduciary manager of the grant. Three arts organizations were selected to receive funding from this grant including Wash Arts-Washington, PA, Fayette County Cultural Trust-Connellsville, PA and the Monon Center- Greensboro, PA. Funds will be used to implement this project in Washington, Fayette and Greene Counties.
With the assistance of the Intermediate Unit 1, this project will be able to identify a roster of local Teaching Artists in all three counties, and coordinate placement of those artists in classrooms and out of
Rueben Brock, chair of the Board of Directors stated: “The Benedum Foundation has positioned Wash Arts to be a catalyst for change in the arts community in rural Southwestern PA. Through their generosity, we will be able to impact the arts in education in not only Washington County, but Fayette and Greene Counties as well where there is a notable absence of arts programs in schools. The Board and I thank the Benedum Foundation immensely for believing in our ability to be a conduit for this great project.”
Because of the location of each of the three arts organizations, Wash Arts will be able to work with more school districts and administrators and introduce them to the concept, while at the same time, form a collaborative group of local Teaching Artists representing all three counties.
Jim Denova, V.P. of the Benedum Foundation said: “This project is at the heart of what Benedum is pleased to fund – those things that impact the arts in education for children. Ultimately as we know through research and statistics, participation in arts education programs improves cognitive development and learning skills across the board for those who are exposed. We are excited to see Wash Arts become the regional voice for this initiative.”
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation is dedicated to encouraging human development in West Virginia and Southwestern PA through strategically placed charitable resources. Over the years, the Foundation has authorized grants of over $410,000,000.
This is an 18 month project which begins this January with planning and working with the school districts to place teaching artists in several school districts within the three counties by the start of school year 2015-16 in September.
Becky Keck, Director of Wash Arts was thrilled at the news and stated: “As an active Teaching Artist, I have seen first-hand the immediate and lasting impressions that Arts Integration has made in both the classroom and community; bringing concepts in science, engineering, arts and technology to life in the hands of our children.”
“I could not be more thrilled with this opportunity on both a personal and profession level. The children of these three counties deserve this experience, and our team will work hard to make this a reality,” she added.