Developing an appreciation of art is a skill that many rural elementary students could never acquire because of budget problems.
"This is a chance to expose children to the art world by bringing the art museum to them," Swope Art Museum Curator of Collections and Programs Nathan Richie said. The Wabash Valley program will begin in Clay County this week and continue throughout the area elementary schools during the month. "In face of impending budget cuts by schools, this program is a chance for rural elementary children in grades three through five to experience art."
A grant from the National Endowment of the Arts provides funding which allows for several types of gallery-quality art from the Terre Haute museum to be brought to each school. During each 45-minute presentation children will be able to see the works up close and ask questions during an interactive discussion.
LeeAnn Mann, Treasurer of the Clay City Elementary School PTO, helped acquire grant money from Arts Illiana and the Indiana Arts Commission.
"Our main focus was to let children see art without having to go on a field trip to do so," Mann said, explaining that field trips could become rare due to budget cuts. "To allow children the priviledge to creatively express themselves through the spoken word, music or art like painting, or with something as simple as crayon and paper, is a priceless experience that we can't allow to slip away."
The CCES PTO is using the grant money to provide art supplies for children throughout the elementary school system to participate in classroom activities to help build creative interest in art.
"This is so important to us, having children experience art, that we are now working on grant funding that will allow area school children the joy of a theater experience in the coming year," said Mann.