After its first month in operation, the State Arts Council's new “Big Yellow School Bus” program has awarded over $10,000 in grants to Rhode Island schools to help transport close to 4,000 students to arts and cultural events. Schools throughout the state are participating in the program, which helps schools with transportation costs so their students can attend arts programs that compliment the instruction they receive in the classroom.
Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, explained how important these small grants are to our state’s educators and students. “The arts have been designated by our state’s Board of Regents as a core subject area in Rhode Island schools, the same designation as math and science,” Rosenbaum said . “While math and science can best be learned in the classroom or laboratory, the arts are best experienced in museums and in the concert hall. These grants will help financially-challenged schools provide these high quality art experiences to their students.”
The first month of grants show the value of these community arts experiences. Students will attend performances of the Rhode Island Philharmonic at Veterans Memorial Auditorium, visit the RISD Museum, and attend theatre events at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket and at Rhode Island College. A class from Woonsocket High School will attend a “Reading Across Rhode Island” literature event in Narragansett, and a $400 grant will help to pay for buses so that 345 students from Vartan Gregorian Elementary School can attend a student performance at Nathaneal Green Middle School in May. A list of grants awarded to date can be found at http://www.arts.ri.gov/bus.
Maureen Kenner, special education teacher, described the value of these small but important grants. “The teachers, staff and families at Vartan Gregorian School at Fox Point have a history of building creative partnerships to promote community engagement and increase student achievement. With the RISCA's Big Yellow School Bus transportation grant, our PreK-5 elementary school children will be able to support and be inspired by their fellow Providence school students at Nathanael Greene Middle School's Performing Arts student production of "Alice in Wonderland".
The State Arts Council's "Big Yellow School Bus" grant program is a non-deadline application for grants of up to $400 per school per year to attend arts and cultural events. Information and an application form can be found on the State Arts Council’s website, at http://www.arts.ri.gov/bus.
About the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency, supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders. For more information on RISCA and its programs, please visit www.arts.ri.gov.