Concord, California – The Concord Art Association has awarded microgrants of $100 or more to eight elementary school teachers in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.
Nearly 300 area students will benefit from new art supplies and expanded curriculums thanks to the fourth annual teacher grant program.
Teachers at Gregory Gardens Elementary, Carol Lutz and Cynthia Aguilar, see art as an important form of self-expression. “With so much emphasis on language, math and science, I worry that our fifth-graders aren’t spending enough time on art, which is so healing and therapeutic,” said Lutz.
Kids in Aguilar’s second-grade class use pastels to trace textures of fall leaves and learn why they change colors. “We write poems about the leaves, which become grammar lessons,” Aguilar says. “With the pandemic, sharing art supplies is not an option, so I’d like to provide each student with their own pastels for projects throughout the year.”
Second-graders at Sun Terrace Elementary use art to learn more about their family history with their teacher, Lori Farr. “Each student creates their own family tree, a heritage clothespin doll and a poster about their country of origin,” she says.
Ashley Sansoe, who also teaches second grade at Sun Terrace, adds: “Art is one of my favorite subjects to teach, because you can tie it in to anything.”
At Strandwood Elementary, where Jillian Cary teaches kindergarten, art is the children’s favorite part of the day. “As a newer teacher, I don’t have a plethora of art materials. I would love to build up a supply of oil pastels, papers, paints and art books so that my students can build their artistic creativity.”
Michelle Anaman with Hidden Valley Elementary wants to teach her kindergarten class about collages. “This would encourage them to be more creative beyond coloring and copying. We’d work with textural items and recycled materials to add variety,” she says.
Floor easels for plain air painting are at the top of Beth Miller’s shopping list for the fourth-graders at Wren Avenue Elementary. “We have lots of outdoor space just outside my classroom where I want to set up art stations,” says Miller.
“All students deserve an art education,” notes Lisa Romano, a third-grade teacher at El Monte Elementary. “I plan to spend the money on a one-year subscription to Art in Action, which helps teachers with the tools they need to develop a comprehensive and engaging art curriculum for their classes.”
Raising funds for the annual teacher grants is a year-round effort for CAA.
“Our board of directors voted to increase the budget this year so we could help more teachers bring more art into their classrooms,” says Catherine Hensiek, CAA president.
“We couldn’t be happier with the variety of grant applications we received, and we absolutely love seeing all the different ways that kids are embracing art with guidance from fabulous teachers.”