2009-2010 Grant Proposals
"Mentoring Through Art"
Classroom Innovation Grant
Proposal: Stonehill's "Mentoring Through Art" is now in its 11th year. Started by Maryjean Crowe in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and now taught by myself and Candice Walters, the class brings in local (Brockton) elementary school-aged children to teach them art and pair them with Stonehill mentors once a week. The mentoring relationship between Stonehill students and the children is a learning experience for both partners. Together they learn both photographic and 2-D arts.
We work with the Plymouth County DA's office and the Brockton School District to make sure that it is a program that reaches beyond the lawns of Stonehill into the homes of the under-served children. In previous years we have been funded in large part by the Mass Service Alliance (a state supported agency) but have not received funds this year due to large state cutbacks. We have sought out and secured other funds that will allow us to operate this year, but dreams of making the class bigger and better are temporarily on hold.
What I would seek from the Classroom Innovation Grant would be support of a specific project that would help raise the awareness of this program (within the Stonehill Community and beyond). I would like this grant in support of producing a full-color, hard-bound book of student work designed by the children themselves. Beyond promotional value, this book would help them gain valuable skills in photography, book making and visual arts.
With the funds I would buy approximately 50 books to be produced by the end of the 2010 academic year. Twenty books would be given to the elementary school children for free. A number would be given to Stonehill Students at a discount and the remaining would be available to the general community. We would produce these books through an innovate online publisher, "Blurb" (blurb.com), that I have used for personal work in the past. You can order one book at a time or in bulk, but the site allows for others to buy it directly from the site. If we sell out of the 50 copies bought with the grant funds, individuals could go to blurb.com and buy their own book without us having to coordinate the sale. We could use any funds recovered by the sale of this book to further support the program.
At the end of each semester we have a celebration of the children's artwork (last Spring at Brockton City Hall). This year we are hoping to do it on Stonehill Campus. At these events (open to the public) I would hope to use the book to further promote and support the program. In summary, I see the following benefits:
- Promoting a class that depends on others for financial and curricular success.
- Allowing children to create and keep a professional-looking book.
- Involving students in a process that teaches them specific and useful skills
- Potentially-multiplying CTL's initial support by producing a product that could be sold in support of the program.
Mentoring Through Art is an innovative class that seeks to embody Stonehill's mission of service. While an immense amount of time and money is spent on the logistics of the program (busing, extra staff at the schools etc) it is hard to justify extra expenditures on projects seen as anything but necessary. I would argue that it is just these types of unusual education experiences that are central to students of any age.
*Notes on production: We will have students be responsible for designing their own page within the book. I will then scan all the material myself and lay it out into the required format. From there it is a simple matter of ordering copies online. please see blurb.com for examples of what can be made using this service.
Budget: 50 books @$20 each = $1000