The Oklahoma Arts Council announced it will award over $35,000 dollars to schools across the state to fund classroom art supplies.
The Classroom Supply Grants for Visual and Performing Arts will fund 71 PK-12 Oklahoma schools and 14,208 students. The grants will assist schools across 26 state counties, including schools in the Moore, OKC and Mid-Del City school districts.
Each school will receive up to $500 for the school year to purchase fine art supplies, according to a press release.
According to the release, fine arts education has been shown to foster a positive learning environment and improve students’ standardized test scores in subjects like math and reading.
In order to be eligible to receive a grant, schools must have at least one part-time art instructor on staff. Grants can be used to purchase supplies for media arts, theater and dance, according to the release.
Oklahoma Arts Council Director of Marketing and Communications Joel Gavin said the arts council surveyed schools across the state about their art education needs. Gavin said the grants launched in spring of 2020 to help fund and sustain arts education.
“When it comes to being able to sustain art education programs … . the very top of the list was (help with) order(ing) supplies,” Gavin said. “So we created this grant to respond to that need ... and it was very successful.”
Oklahoma Arts Council Grants Director Thomas Tran said when selecting schools to receive the grants, the arts council prioritizes underserved communities. Tran said 48% of this rounds’ grants were distributed to rural schools.
“I'm a very proud product of public education … and I was lucky to grow up in a district that had the resources,” Tran said. “But, it's great to see all of these different schools from different areas of the state (that) we were able to support this year.”
Applications for the Spring 2021 grants will open in January of 2021, and schools that did not receive a grant in the fall are encouraged to reapply, according to the release.
“This is the first step for a lot of schools (for art funding),” Tran said. “They start forming relationships with our staff, and then they start coming in for our other grant programs as well.”