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CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will have $225,000 for an innovative program that encourages schools and arts organizations to integrate arts into their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curricula and community programming through a Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation grant. The new program, STEAM Power WV, is available beginning this month, with the first grant deadlines set for September 25.

“One of our priorities is to support arts education and programming that provides arts opportunities for West Virginia youth,” said Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. “We are excited to partner with Benedum for this program and to provide funding for programs that will reach students around the state.”

STEAM Power WV will be administered by the division’s arts section. Matching grants of up to $7,500 are available for preschool through high school programs, school systems, nonprofit arts organizations and community nonprofits with arts-related missions. The programs must offer a teaching or learning project that integrates the arts with STEM disciplines.

“Mini grants like these are incredibly valuable in tapping the creativity of the frontline classroom teacher and teaching artist,” said Jim Denova, Benedum Foundation vice president.  “The Division of Culture and History does a great job of engaging local arts organizations and schools.  This venture is not a ‘top-down’ effort but one that reaches out to grassroots – to the teachers and artists whose creativity we want to encourage.” Denova said that the foundation’s experience has been that STEAM grants are a great way to test new ideas and establish innovative partnerships that can integrate art and technology into the formal learning environment.

The division plans to fund 30 STEAM projects between September 2015 and June 2016. The projects will encourage innovation, problem-based learning, creativity, contextual thinking and other aptitudes that are critical to 21st century college and career readiness demands.

Project proposals must enhance school and/or after-school curricula by using cross-disciplinary partnerships that include teachers, teaching artists, STEM educators and other professionals. Arts and community organizations as well as higher education organizations may also be involved.

Educators in the fields of math, science, technology and engineering are encouraged to apply as are those involved in performance and visual arts. Collaborative projects are encouraged and welcome.

STEAM Power WV guidelines and applications are available at the division’s website www.wvculture.org/arts/STEAM. For more information, contact Jim Wolfe, arts in education coordinator for the division, at [email protected] or 304-558-0240.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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