By ANGIE CARNATHAN
Applications for the Starkville Area Arts Councilâ€™s Arts in Education grants are being accepted now. The due date for the applications is Oct. 12.
The grants are available to teachers and administrators in both city and county schools, public or private, grades K-12. The grants will be awarded in December.
Grants are generally awarded to unique programs or classrooms featuring any number of fine arts learning opportunities, including visual arts, music, theatre, dance or literature curriculum.
Grants up to $200 are awarded to projects that affect only one class of students, and grants up to $500 are given to programs that involve several classes of students, an entire school or an entire district. The $500 grants may also be given to projects that can continue to be utilized for years to come.
Committee member Paula Mabry said to the best of her knowledge, the only thing the grants will not fund is travel.
â€śThe awards are given to teachers or classrooms to further promote educational activities that may not be funded otherwise,â€ť Mabry said. â€śI know the theatre programs at both Starkville High School and Starkville Academy have been awarded grants in the past to help to fund productions.â€ť
Mabry said she is passionate about all students having access to artistic opportunities in school.
â€śWe look for art learning opportunities that are able to serve as many students as possible in both the city and the county,â€ť Mabry said.
SAAC Arts in Education Committee Chair Ellen Boles said 17 teachers in the Starkville School District, the Oktibbeha County School District and Starkville Academy were awarded grants last year, totaling almost $5,000.
â€śItâ€™s exciting to see the innovative ways teachers use the arts in their daily instruction,â€ť Boles said.
According to the Mississippi Arts Commission, students who are regularly exposed to the arts are higher achievers than those who rarely experience the arts. It also said at-risk students who participate in the arts are more likely to stay in school, and students who have regular interaction with the arts not only perform better in school, but they also continue their education longer than their counterparts with less arts experience.
The SAAC funds the grants through events like the upcoming SAAC Gala and silent auction, the Everything Garden Expo, the Cotton District Arts Festival and Fork and Corks. Part of the funding also comes from the city of Starkville, Oktibbeha County and the Mississippi Arts Commission.
Applications for grants are available at the SAAC office, located at 101 S. Lafayette St., Suite 18. For more information, call the SAAC office at (662) 324-3080.