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home : most recent : government-federal September 25, 2017


8/29/2017 12:38:00 PM
South Shore Arts receives grant to expand projects to 67 schools
John Cain, executive director of South Shore Arts, points out details in a work by artist Terry Lacy in the gallery at South Shore Arts' Munster location on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. (Kyle Telechan/Post-Tribune)
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John Cain, executive director of South Shore Arts, points out details in a work by artist Terry Lacy in the gallery at South Shore Arts' Munster location on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. (Kyle Telechan/Post-Tribune)

Meredith Colias, Post-Tribune

A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will allow South Shore Arts to expand two of its classroom art projects to more schools.

The organization recently received a $10,000 grant to bolster two of its art projects for second- and third-grade students based on children's books, "The Skin You Live In" by Michael Tyler and "Waterville" by Nick Mantis.

The grant will allow it to offer the projects to 67 public, private and charter schools in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties, said Education Director Jillian Van Volkenburgh.

About 6,000 second-grade students would take part in projects based on "The Skin You Live In" and 2,400 third-grade students would participate in projects based on "Waterville," according to her grant proposal. 

Second-grade students will create self-portraits with construction paper based on the style used in Tyler's book. The project is meant to help foster positive self-image, said South Shore Arts Executive Director John Cain.

"We thought that would be a great program to take into" schools, he said. "It had a strong message about diversity and acceptance."

Projects based on Mantis' book would raise environmental awareness for third-grade students, Cain said.

Both David Lee Csicsko — the illustrator for Tyler's book — and Mantis have Northwest Indiana roots. Csicsko is a Hammond native, while Mantis is originally from East Chicago, Cain said. 

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, announced the funding.

"As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have consistently supported funding for the NEA," Visclosky said in a statement. "While the current administration proposed to eliminate the NEA in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget request, I am pleased my colleagues and I on the House Appropriations Committee worked to include $145 million for the NEA in FY 2018 appropriations legislation, which is $5 million less than the FY 17 funding level. 

"I commend John Cain and the staff of South Shore Arts for successfully utilizing this outstanding program for our youth and our communities, and I will continue to do all that I can to support this federal program."

South Shore Arts provides an instructor and art supplies for both projects. The organization will offer both projects to schools starting in October for the remainder of the school year.

Van Volkenburgh said they mark the program's success by how many schools invite them back each year.

"Especially with the arts, a lot of schools are cutting the arts," she said. "So, they really welcome any sort of creative instruction in their classrooms and this is one way we do it."

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