The Maine Arts Commission recently approved 11 SMART (Schools Make Art Relevant Today) grants for a total of $92, 550 in funding. The grant provides funding for arts education projects and has a maximum award of $10,000. There is one deadline each year.
SMART grants have been traditionally awarded to projects serving elementary school populations but this year a unique project was presented by the University of Maine at Augusta to provide funds to create a Youth Orientated program of the University of Maine, Augusta, or YoUMA for short.
YoUMA is a summer interdisciplinary arts immersion program with a focus on visual and performing arts for up to 100 rising sophomore, junior and senior high school students, and also recent graduates and GED recipients.
• raise awareness of the availability of local, high quality post secondary arts education,
• encourage prospective students to consider going to college majoring in visual/performing arts by exposing them to an innovative introduction to what college can be like, thereby encouraging participants to realize higher education is indeed within their capabilities and
• develop stronger partnerships and collaborations with arts programs in Maine high schools, communities, and educational programs to recruit participants.
Students will receive college credit for each week completed in the course and will have a glimpse into the life of a college art student, and the subsequent positive college experience. YoUMA will orient students to higher education and promote attendance using artistic modes of problem solving, which, in turn, bring an array of expressive, analytical, and development tools for each student.
The review committee applauded the University for recognizing that arts education is one way to keep students in school until they graduate and working to make connections between high school and college is a gap that needs to be bridged.
Other grants awarded under the SMART grant were:
• The Auburn School Department for an arts-based afterschool program, $9,915
• Biddeford School Department, for an in school dance residency, $2,635
• Figures of Speech Theatre, for Figures of Speech Student Ensemble, $10,000
• Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, or a community-based artist residency with and student mentor program, $5,000
• Maine Alliance for Arts Education, for the LINC program, $10,000
• John F. Murphy Homes, Inc., for a creative movement program, $10,000
• Portland Museum of Art, for a two-year art immersion program for high school students, $5,000
• Sanford School Department, for a project utilizing professional artists to instruct students and staff, $10,000
• The Telling Room, to allow students to work with writers and a comic book artist to tell their stories, $10,000
• Tides Institute and Museum of Art, for artist residencies, workshop and visiting artist program, $10,000
For more information on the Maine Arts Commission's SMART grant visit MaineArts.com.