Since 2009, the Arts and Education Council has managed the Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers, which has awarded 102 grants totaling $255,000 since its inception. These funds are given directly to teachers for art education projects in their classrooms. This past fall, 14 area schools were awarded grants to support projects during the 2019-2020 academic year. In the past 10 years, more than 15,000 K-12 students have benefited from this grant program.

In December, a Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers grant made it possible for Life Skills students at Collinsville High School to perform in the school’s annual Madrigal Concert for the first time. These students’ physical and educational needs require specialized learning that often makes participating in activities with fellow students difficult. The grant was used for costumes and bells for Life Skills students that made it possible for the students to perform.

The Life Skills students began preparing for the concert at the beginning of the school year. They learned to play the colored bells with coordinating color cards their teacher displayed. For the event, the students also created medieval decorations. The bells will continue to be a part of the curriculum for the Life Skills students. Music is an excellent tool to enhance the students’ learning especially as many of them learn best through repetition.

Their performance was a crowd favorite during the concert. After their first song, the audience stood up with enthusiastic cheers and applause. A trumpeter eventually played another fanfare to finally get the audience quieted down so they could perform their next song. The arts provided a bridge for the Life Skills students to participate in a meaningful activity with their classmates that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

Your gift to the Arts and Education Council furthers our ability to invest in arts education projects that make the St. Louis region a more vibrant arts community for all.