Grants trying to help Philly school art programs

 The Picaso grants will help to make up some of the funding that has been drained from the Philadelphia school district's arts programs during the current budget crisis. (NewsWorks file photo)

The Picaso grants will help to make up some of the funding that has been drained from the Philadelphia school district's arts programs during the current budget crisis. (NewsWorks file photo)

Fifteen Philadelphia area schools have something to be thankful for.  They are being awarded grants totaling $70,000 through Public Citizens for Children and Youth’s Picasso Project — a philanthropic reaction to budget cuts that have decimated art and music resources across the city’s public schools.

“Several schools in Philadelphia have no arts teacher, no music teacher and very little funding. If they do have an art teacher they may not have any budget for materials,” said Linda Fernandez, the project’s director.

The Picasso Project gives mini-grants ranging from $1,600-$5,000 to help make up those deficiencies.

Fernandez says the grants will pay for supplies, field trips and exhibitions as well as fund visiting artists.

“So it really provides an opportunity for young students who normally would not have that opportunity to be able to create art or do a performance or dance or create a video with local artists,” she said.

Applicants must apply for the grants in partnership with a local arts organization.

In addition to improving arts instruction, PCCY hopes the initiative fosters better school climate, stimulates collaboration and integrates arts with core academic subjects.

This year’s grant receiving schools include: Chester Arthur, Amedee Bregy, William Cramp, Stephen Girard, Andrew Jackson, Alain Locke, Alexander McClure, Samuel Powel, James Rhoads, and Laura Waring elementary schools, Fitler Academics Plus School, Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School, Swenson Arts and Technology High School, Wordsworth Academy, and The Workshop School.

“Through this grant, we will be able to open the minds of our students in a way that otherwise would not have been possible,” said Andrew Jackson elementary school principal Lisa Ciaranca-Kaplan in PCCY’s official release.

The 2015 grantees will be recognized at a ceremony on January 27th at Moore College of Art and Design.

Since its inception in 2002, the Picasso Project has provided more than $550,000 to fund 121 arts projects benefitting over 35,000 students in Philadelphia schools.

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