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Mini grants available for teachers for art-related educational projects

Local teachers (levels K-12) with an extra art project in mind are invited to apply for an Arts in Education mini grant which offers between $100 and $1,000.


The project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the American Samoa Council on Arts, Culture, and Humanities (Jean P. Hayden Museum compound, Fagatogo).


ASCACH Arts and Education Program Manager, Samuelu Sunia told Samoa News yesterday the grants are available for all schools — both public and private. The grants range from $100 up to $1,000 and award amounts are based on the type of project proposed.


According to Sunia, the mini grants are offered every scholastic year and last spring, two submissions were received with one applicant getting $900 while the other got $860.


A third submission was also approved for an award of $1,000 but the proposed project is set to be carried out this year and until that time, the money will not be released.


Sunia emphasized the importance of offering local students the opportunity to learn through the arts. “Some kids are just better at learning things when it is art-related and that is the goal of this program, to help those students by enhancing their learning abilities.”


The ASCACH stresses that visual arts like woodcarving help students develop habits like observing, envisioning, innovating, and reflecting.


While all schools are invited to apply for the mini grants, Sunia said they do try to offer a level playing field by limiting one award per school. “We want an even spread so every school has a chance to take part in the program,” he said.


The deadline for submission is April 12 and all applications are screened by a local panel charged with approving the proposals and deeming ideal award amounts based on the information on each application.


“People need to understand that just because they apply for a certain amount, doesn’t mean they are going to get it,” Sunia explained, adding the award amounts are based on careful consideration of everything involved in the proposed projects.


He added once the award amounts are approved, 80% of the award is issued up front while the remaining 20% is handed out after all the proper reports are submitted.


So far this year, Sunia has yet to receive an application. He encourages all local teachers to take advantage of the program, to get free funding that can help students learn new things and discover new learning techniques that can help them not only in academics but in life.


Sunia said all projects that are art-related and educational qualify for grant funding. Some examples include arts in math and music, although Sunia said they try to push for projects involving traditional arts like woodcarving, weaving, and siapo making.


Once everything is submitted, applicants can expect to wait no longer than two weeks to get an answer on whether or not they were approved and how much the award will be.


More information on the Arts in Education mini grants program can be obtained by calling 633-4347/4490/5613. (Also, see ads in Samoa News about the application.)