Artists Residencies are coming to the local middle and high Schools, thanks to a grant from the Charlotte Martin Foundation.
The $4,000 grant will fund several week- long residencies which will bring artists into the schools to work with teachers and students directly. Each resident will work on a project for 20 hours during a one-week period of time.
The White Salmon Valley Education Foundation (WSVEF) underwrote the costs associated with the grant.
"The Education Foundation is very excited about funding a grant writer on behalf of our school district," said Anne-Marie Slater, WSVEF president. "We have a goal to seek funds from other sources and it is paying off. The art and music teachers are excited, and students will have opportunities in the Arts they did not have before."
The Charlotte Martin grant is part of a larger budget for an overall Arts Enhancement Program which coordinates art and music teachers from all three schools. The WSVEF assisted the school district in obtaining an earlier grant from the Washington State Arts Commission totaling $18,000 for the project with other grants in the works.
"We're excited about the extra experiences in music and in visual arts that these grants will provide for our students, and we greatly appreciate the pivotal role that the foundation played in supporting the writing of this grant," said Rick George, the district's administrative liaison for its Fine Arts Committee.
One of the program's goals is to expose students to a wider range of high-quality hands-on experiences. Students at Whitson have these types of residencies funded through the PTO, and benefit from them immensely. Now professional teaching artists will visit the middle and high schools to teach students new skills and knowledge in specific art forms and disciplines.
Artists will be chosen primarily from approved rosters through either the Washington State Arts Commission (WSAC) or Columbia Gorge Arts in Education, although art specialists may bring in experts from other credible sources as well. All residencies will show substantial alignment with state teaching standards.
"I am very happy that our students will be exposed to living artists, successful professionals which will help to develop the skills and creativity of our students," said Ursula Kermani Henkle Middle School art teacher. "This real life connection is invaluable."
The Charlotte Martin Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth in the areas of athletics, culture, and education and also to preserving and protecting wildlife and habitat.