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Escanaba schools awarded arts education grant

ESCANABA — The Escanaba Area Public Schools were awarded the Arts in Education Residency grant for $6,450.00 from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA.) This award brings children music experts Tom Pease and Kennedy Center Teaching arts Stuart Stotts to the lower elementary schools for a folk song writing workshop.

Governor Whitmer responded to the grant by saying, “Organization like (Escanaba Area Public Schools) showcase the talent and dedication that Michiganders possess and are vital to the wellbeing of our state.”

On September 30, 2019 Governor Whitmer signed all 16 budgets, which included $10.15 million for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. It is through MCACA that these arts programs are made possible. Other organizations in Delta County that received funding from MCACA include, Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development, Mid Peninsula School District and The William Bonifas Arts Center.

The residency will include 25 classroom visits, in person or virtual, for students at Lemmer Elementary and the Webster Kindergarten Center. Elementary Music Teacher Lorne Watson will host the teaching artists in his classroom and help to produce original songs with his students. After the songs are written Pease, Stotts and Watson will perform and record with the students and share their music with the general public.

“I have been awarded this grant as an artist before,” says Watson. “This time is even more unique because I am able to bring world renowned artist into my classroom. It is an honor to have received this grant, and I am very excited to create music my students.”

Through folk music students will be able to tell their own story while refining their literacy skills. This education experience is an opportunity for the entire community to expand their knowledge of arts education and its importance. The residency will take place in March and April of 2021.

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