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Art Beat: Arts in Education grants

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An art student, much like the canvas or pile of clay, is a masterpiece in progress. One that must be molded, shaped, and brought to life at the hands of a gifted art educator. This is why the Hernando County Fine Arts Council offers the Arts in Education Grant to art educators teaching in K-12 classrooms in Hernando County Schools. This grant supports art educators in delivering and promoting art experiences to the students of Hernando County. The maximum grant request is $500 with all applications required to align with the Arts In Education mission statement that is to encourage, promote, support and showcase the creative process for the benefit of K-12 students in Hernando County.

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Any certified visual or performing arts teacher working on behalf of a public or private school in Hernando County is encouraged to apply for these signature creative arts grants. “The Arts in Education Grant Program, established in 2019, is the result of a new 5 part Strategic Plan created by the Hernando County Fine Arts Council,” explained AIE Chair, Barb Blavatt. “Designed specifically to support Arts Educators in Hernando County, it presently focuses on those in the Hernando County Public School System but is also open to private schools. The purpose of these grants is to support arts educators in delivering and promoting arts experiences to students in the county by awarding up to $500 to educators in the following areas of concentration: Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Dance, and Instrumental/Choral Music.”

To date, AIE grants have been awarded to: Fox Chapel, Chocachatti, Winding Waters, Brooksville Elementary, Hernando High, Explorer K-8, Entirety K-12, Nature Coast Technical High School, Pine Grove Elementary, Deltona Elementary. Covering everything from materials to enhanced arts curricula, performances and exhibitions, visiting artists to field trip transportation.  Distributed twice a year, the arts council is presently receiving grant applications for this Spring. For more information, visit www.hernandoarts.org and click on AIE Grants. 

It is strongly suggested that potential applicants review the AIE grant guidelines before beginning the application process. Applications will be reviewed between February 11th, 2022 – February 17th, 2022. Award recipient notifications will be sent via email by February 18th, 2022. Projects must be completed and closed out by May 25th, 2022.

In 2020, recipients included Fox Chapel (for band uniforms), Chocachatti (for a production of Disney High School Musical Jr.), Winding Waters K-8 (for a printmaking project), Brooksville Elementary (for an outdoor mural), Hernando High School (for the purchase of equipment to reproduce student artwork), Winding Waters K-8 (for a relief printmaking project).

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“In the past, the Arts in Education grants have been awarded for many art projects using paints or ceramics. We also cover costs for guest artists, or even transportation fees for field trips centered around the arts!” said Jessica Knutila, a glass artist with senOiH Glass and also as a council member for the Hernando County Fine Arts Council. “The Arts Council was one of many sponsors to fund a trip to NYC for students in the The Nature Coast Technical High School Digital Video Production Program. The students spent the week creating the film “Waiting for the Punchline.” (Watch the film here – https://youtu.be/uAZ6tu_Zv-w). They competed in the All-American High School Film Festival and took second place in the world!”

Knutila says that the Arts in Education grants are particularly needed during this most challenging time. “We know these past few years have been especially hard for our art teachers, while art has never been more important,” she said. “The Arts in Education Grants are one way the Arts Council hopes to help! We will support as many art projects for the students in Hernando County as possible.”

Knutila says the grants are meant to support both teachers and students in the pursuit and creation of tomorrow’s artistic masterworks. “The Arts Council created the Arts in Education Grants to provide support to Hernando County art teachers in immersing local students in the arts!”

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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