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Monsanto Fund Awards Craft Alliance $40,000 Grant

Grant to fund free studio experiences to St. Louis Public Schools.

Craft Alliance (CA) is pleased to announce it was recently awarded a $40,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund. Thanks to the generosity of the Monsanto Fund, more than 400 students throughout 14 St. Louis Public Schools (SLPS) will be able to participate in CA’s ArtSmarts program. Filling a void in urban schools with under-funded arts curriculums, ArtSmarts is a unique educational arts program.

Through the ArtSmarts program, students are introduced to contemporary craft, learn about the innovative use of materials, and are provided behind-the-scenes insight into the creation of craft. CA teaching artists create conceptual links between the exhibition series and the studio activities, including the basic techniques of flame worked glass, ceramics, metalsmithing and fiber arts.

“The Monsanto Fund invests in programs like ArtSmarts because it helps students to improve overall academic achievement,” said Monsanto Fund president Deborah Patterson. “The impact of enrichment programs was just affirmed by a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts study The Arts and Achievement in At-Risk Youth, ‘that at-risk students who have access to the arts in or out of school also tend to have better academic results, better workforce opportunities, and more civic engagement.’ We are proud to support Art Smart and its efforts to offer students more opportunities to succeed.”

With the aid of this grant, ArtSmarts is able to offer an experience that goes far beyond that of a typical scholastic art classroom. CA exhibitions evoke a sense of wonder, and the hands-on activities connect students to the larger craft culture while satisfying something distinctly human; the need to create.

Enthusiastic about the program, many of the participating art teachers from the SLPS return with their students for consecutive years.

Karen Boyd of Central Visual and Performing Arts High School Central says this about her pupils, “I have seen many of our students brighten and open up when given this opportunity. They also gain confidence as they are exposed to mediums of expression they did not know about before, and they are so enthusiastic about learning new things. The students really appreciate this experience.”

For more about ArtSmarts, visit http://www.craftalliance.org/outreach/artsmarts.htm

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