VSA and MetLife Foundation Award $150,000 in Arts Education Grants

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Ten organizations across the nation to receive grants for inclusive arts program in public schools

VSA’s work with MetLife Foundation creates equal opportunities for students to attend, participate in, and learn through arts experiences.

VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, and MetLife Foundation are pleased to award $150,000 in grants to 10 organizations nationally as part of the “Arts Connect All” program recognizing innovative arts education in our public schools for students with and without disabilities.

“Inclusive learning means that both students with and without disabilities are participating in learning side by side,” commented Stephanie Litvak, VSA director of program development. “VSA’s work with MetLife Foundation creates equal opportunities for students to attend, participate in, and learn through arts experiences.”

“MetLife Foundation is proud to continue to collaborate with VSA to bring inclusive arts opportunities to our public schools,” said Rohit Burman, director, MetLife Foundation. “We believe that every student deserves access to the arts, which play a vital role in a child’s development. By encouraging creativity and inclusivity, we help advance academic, social, cognitive, and artistic skills.”

The following 10 organizations will receive a grant of $15,000 to continue their work in inclusive educational programs that develop students’ social, cognitive, and artistic skills:

•Charter Oak Cultural Center (Hartford, Conn.): Arts for All—Children take part in dance, theater arts, and film experiences in which they create artwork together.
•FirstWorks (Providence, R.I.): Firsts for All—Middle and high school students explore a variety of performing arts media through a pilot program that combines in-school workshops, demonstrations, and public performances.
•Malashock Dance (San Diego, Calif.): Academics in Motion—Elementary school students develop academic, artistic, and social skills in activities that infuse dance theory and practice into subjects such as geometry, social science, and language arts.
•Matrix Theatre Company (Detroit, Mich.): Integrated Multi-Arts Collaboration for Inclusive Performing Arts—Elementary school students explore the performing arts through in-school and after-school workshops combining dance, drumming, and puppetry.
•Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, Texas.): Discovery Through Art: An Inclusive Multi-Visit Tour Program—Elementary school students mix guided tours of the museum’s collection with art making experiences to learn how to convey their ideas visually.
•Nashville Symphony (Nashville, Tenn.): One Note, One Neighborhood—Students gain a musical education through concerts, string instrument instruction, and performing while also improving their social studies, language arts, and critical thinking skills.
•People’s Light & Theatre Company (Malvern, Pa.): Anchors Away: An Exploration of Treasure Island—Elementary students develop theater skills, including storytelling and writing, through workshops, viewing a professional production of Treasure Island, and performing in their own play.
•Theatre Project (Baltimore, Md.): QuestFest in Your School—Elementary school students create a visual theater piece related to their school curriculum during weekly workshops and perform it at the QuestFest Community Showcase.
•Upstream Arts (Minneapolis, Minn.): Success in the Arts—Children build artistic, social, and communication skills through dance, theater, music, visual arts, and poetry workshops.
•Young Audiences of Massachusetts (Somerville, Mass.): Together We Can Fly—Students explore the concepts of flight, dreams, and hope through a visual art and dance residency that culminates in a performance presentation.

About VSA
VSA, the international organization on arts and disability, was founded more than 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to provide arts and education opportunities for people with disabilities and increase access to the arts for all. With 52 international affiliates and a network of nationwide affiliates, VSA is changing perceptions about people with disabilities around the world. Each year, 7 million people of all ages and abilities participate in VSA programs, which cover all artistic genres. VSA is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For more information, visit vsarts.org.

About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was established by MetLife to carry on its long-standing tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Grants are made to support health, educational, civic, and cultural organizations and programs throughout the country. Recognizing the vital role the arts play in building communities and educating young people, MetLife Foundation contributes to the arts and culture by focusing on increasing opportunities for young people, reaching broader audiences through inclusive programming and making arts more accessible for all people. For more information about the Foundation, visit http://www.metlife.org.

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Laura Broom
VSA
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