Sarah Fizell from Arts Connect discusses the recipients of the Top Art Grants.

2016 ARTS Connect TopArts Grants

Congratulations to the 2016 TopArts Grant Recipients. We received an overwhelming number of applications and are pleased to present the 2016 TopArts Grantees!

Mulvane Art Museum – Art After School
The goal of the Mulvane Art Museum’s Art After School (AAS) program is to provide hands-on art education for 500 elementary school age children whose access to the arts is limited or non-existent. This program serves children in grades K-5 who do not have art in their elementary school curriculums as well as students from economically disadvantaged circumstances and/or children who are at-risk. Through the program, students gain the art education that helps close the gap between their opportunities and those of their more advantaged peers. Lessons address Visual Thinking and Studio Thinking Strategies and align with National Common Core Standards for the Visual Arts. Many lessons cross the curriculum in Core Content areas: Language Arts, Social Studies and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Partner organizations include: Asbury Mount Olive Youth Empowerment, Antioch Family Life Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Topeka and North Topeka, the Bridge, Family Service and Guidance Center, Pathways Family Life Center, Salvation Army, Shawnee County Parks and Recreation, Topeka Afterschool Coalition, Topeka Alliance of Museum Educators, Topeka Housing Authority, Topeka Rescue Mission, 21st Century Learning Centers, YMCA and YWCA.

The Craftivists – Weekly Art Groups for Women & Girls
To provide accessibility to art education, specifically for disenfranchised women and girls in our community. In a safe and supportive environment, women and girls will explore new mediums of art and express their feeling and ideas through art. These groups will include projects such as jewelry making, mixed media painting, fiber arts, sculpture, poetry workshops and music exploration.  Themes for these projects will include body image, female empowerment, education regarding violence against women, healthy relationships, and many other topics pertinent to the experience of women and girls. Additional efforts will be made to reach out to disenfranchised populations in our community through outreach with the Topeka Rescue Mission, the YWCA, Florence Crittenton and Valeo.

Patty Kahn & Quincy Elementary School – NOTO ArtReach
The primary goal of NOTO ArtReach program is to begin an ongoing after-school real world visual arts program – an 8 week course with two 90 minute classes per week. This pilot program is a collaboration with Quincy Elementary school and will be led by professional artists, art teachers, and classroom teachers, with support from trained assistants and volunteers. The scope of the population we will serve includes children and families at risk, children with special needs, and gifted art students. A significant number of these students will be temporarily residing at the nearby Topeka Rescue Mission. NOTO ArtReach will partner and or collaborate with NOTO’s Yeldarb Art Gallery, Yeldarb Studio Artists, Earthworks of Kaw River Rustics, Washburn University’s Department of Social Work, Topeka Rescue Mission, and the Quincy Elementary Art Department.

Tonantzin Society – Artist Residency @ Scott Dual Language & Quincy Elementary Schools
This is a four day residency with The Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre from Iowa, which includes a public performance, workshops and hands on instruction for students in the creation and performance of puppet-based theater and takes place during Topeka’s Dia de los Muertos Festival. Shows will include performance of “Five Suns of the Aztecs” and a Dia de los Muertos-themed production. Participants will also be instructed in the creation of Dia de los Muertos mini altars, the meaning of DDLM and associated traditions. Most of this instruction and experience will be conducted in a bi-lingual environment and free of charge to participants.

Grace Cathedral – Great Spaces Music & Art Series
The goal of the Great Spaces Series to bring great performers and performing groups to Topeka that might not otherwise make it to this smaller market.  Artists are regional, national and even international. They are chosen for their unique and high-quality  performing abilities.  Both sacred and secular music is performed on the Series. The Great Spaces Series hosts approximately 12 events each academic year and has been in operation since 2003.  Most concerts are of classical music, but the Series also regularly hosts jazz, silent movies and other non-religious public concerts.  Concerts during the 2015-2016 Series include(d) two performances by The Spire Chamber Ensemble, Russian Pianist Oleg Poliansky, Florida based Organist Adam Brakel, the world famous St. Olaf Choir, the St. Petersburg String Quartet, two regional community children’s choirs, plus university choirs from Kansas and Missouri.  The Series will also partner this June with the Sunflower Music Festival to host a noon lunch concert of that Festival’s collegiate string quartet on June 15, 2016. Since 2010, the Series has averaged 2940 audience members annually.  Just as important for Topeka, we have averaged 685 performers and created such a name for Topeka and Grace Cathedral that Great Spaces is known and respected around the world.

Kansas Ballet – Early Start Performing Arts @ State Street Elementary
This program will provide arts-centered programming for early-start Fridays at State Street elementary school where currently children sit in the hallways because of lack of programming and staff funding during late start days. They have a low-income student population focused on the performing arts, a state-of-the-art theater, a newly remodeled auditorium, modern dance floors, ballet barre, and mirrors – yet have no dance program. The leadership at the school is dedicated to the development of young people, and are eager to bring classical ballet to their program offerings through a partnership with Kansas Ballet Company. Through this grant, beginning in the fall of 2016 and concluding in the spring of 2017, Kansas Ballet will provide a weekly ballet class that meets prior to class during Friday late start at State Street Elementary School. At the conclusion of the academic year, the ballet students will participate in a Spring Recital at State Street Elementary School.

Aaron Douglas Art Fair
This fair celebrates the life and works of Aaron Douglas in a way that promotes appreciation and exploration of the arts by the community at large by featuring emerging artists, musicians, and interactive activities for youth and adults. This is an important event that takes place in the center of the city and is free to attend.  This grant funding supports interactive art instruction during the day of the fair.

Last Minute Folk Concert Series @ Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka
This grant provides access to live folk, American, acoustic, and roots music to underserved groups in the Topeka area. Last Minute Folk Concerts brings nationally and internationally known folk musicians to Topeka for performances, generally on a monthly basis. Concerts are held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka. These funds will be used to increase access to these performances for nursing facilities and children’s centers who are unable to provide these types of activities. In November of 2014, we supported a community songwriting workshop at Manning Music with singer-songwriter Rupert Wates. 12 community members attended, including 2 young people.  In January 2015, we supported a program at Children’s Discovery Center with Dennis Warner. Using material from his children’s book “Beads on a String”, he worked with about a dozen local Girl Scout members as they worked on their badge related to his book. We have also coordinated a number of concerts for the residents at Thornton Place Care Center, and this funding will allow us to expand to other facilities.

Topeka Symphony Society – Youth Ensembles
The primary goal of the TSO Youth Ensembles program is to provide educational and performance opportunities for young musicians and to encourage them to pursue their musical interests. These funds will be used to hold tuition fees at the present level, meet the growing demand for scholarship assistance from the students and their families and allow for small group instructional classes known as sectionals. Through the program, students have the opportunity to practice and perform in an ensemble setting that teaches teamwork and discipline and that fosters creativity and personal fulfillment.

TARC, Inc. – Art from the Heart
Art from the Heart is person centered art program for individuals with disabilities and each participant receives an individualized program. Art instruction is coordinated through the Mulvane Art Museum along with TARC’s Education Coordinator to provide appropriate and adaptive tools, mediums and supplies that each participant will need for each specific project. Participants use various mediums for participants to experience such as, felt roving, metals, clay, mosaics that include paper and glass, beading, fabric, chalk pastels, oil pastels, acrylic and water colors. Of the 65 individuals participating in Art from the Heart, 100% are below the median income level and range in age from 18- 85. 43% of the participants have some type of physical disability in addition to their developmental/intellectual disability which requires the use of adaptive art tools in order to participate.

Topeka Community Concert Association
This grant will be used to provide educational outreach and/or concert opportunities for Topeka/Shawnee County children by providing tickets free-of-charge to students age 18 and under to one or more TCCA concerts in the 2016-2017 concert series – and for every free child ticket offered, one adult can receive a free ticket as well. TCCA will also provide educational outreach opportunities for one or more Topeka schools during the 2016-2017 concert series. This would involve the concert artists spending the afternoon at a Topeka school educating the children about music and performing arts. The TCCA has a long history of providing these types of educational outreaches and plans to do more in the future. Attendance at TCCA concerts range from 600-800 spectators. The venue can accommodate up to 1,200 people. The grant will be used to promote classical music for school-age children and their parents.

Lutheran Fine Arts Council of Topeka – Theatre Workshop at Topeka Civic Theatre
This funding will make possible a full day theatre experience for 40 children grades 2 to 8. Children will learn about stage makeup, improv acting, props and costumes. A maximum of 40 students can be served. If this is successful, we hope to do it again and expand our reach into the community.

Chesney Park Neighborhood Improvement Association – The Great Mural Wall of Topeka
The Great Mural Wall honors the cultural history and ongoing spirit of Topekans and their neighborhoods.  The project was initiated in 2006 to complete mural panels on the 900 foot long wall. The project is 80% complete and this funding would bring it closer to completion. Since the first installment in 2007 the Great Mural Wall has instilled community pride, beautified the neighborhood and curtailed graffiti on the wall. The project is a collaboration with the Chesney Park Neighborhood and the City of Topeka Water Division, who owns the wall.  A few of the organizations involved in designing, funding and painting the Great Mural Wall are;  Chesney Park Neighborhood, Central Park Neighborhood, Elmhurst Neighborhood, Topeka High art students, Robinson Middle School students, and Washburn University students.

The Lighting of Topeka’s Historic Water
This grant supports the installation of color changing LED lights to be installed on the water tower located at 11th & S. Kansas Avenue. Each flute of the water tower will be lit and controlled individually so that moving artistic color arrangements could be made.  We would have the ability to have a color spectrum shift in colors as a default condition, but also many other color schemes, such as purple and white during KSU games, etc.  The Quincy Water Tower is very visible from downtown and will serve as a beacon to bring in I-70 traffic into our city while acting as a large scale piece of light art.

Topeka Metro Transit Authority –  Art in Transit Redux
Through this grant, patron-generated art that serves to lift up the important place public transportation serves in the life of the Topeka community will be installed in the Quincy Bus Station. In 2009 the artists of Chords and Oil generated public art that was on short-term display at the bus station. Then in 2013, two teachers were employed by Topeka Metro to teach children how to ride the bus in order to take advantage of the “Kids Ride Free” program which has since been in place from May 15 to August 15 each summer. As part of that experience, they helped area Day Camps and the three USD 501 high schools produced art that was displayed by Topeka Metro – first in the bus station lobby on the August First Friday in 2013 – then as interior and exterior bus signs and bus benches (serving the bus stops near the high schools).  As a consciousness-raising tool, this artwork will bring more awareness in the community to the partnership between art and public transit and be part of the revitalization of downtown Topeka.