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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Arts Section of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History is accepting applications for STEAM Power WV grants, a program that last year served more than 16,000 students across the state. This innovative grant program encourages schools and arts organizations to integrate arts education with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curricula. Applications must be postmarked by Nov. 18, 2016. Approximately $90,000 will be awarded from funding received through a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

“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 continue our partnership with Benedum for this STEAM initiative and to provide funding for programs that will reach students around the state.”

STEAM Power WV is 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 projects 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.

Between September 2015 and June 2016, the division awarded $206,180 to 48 STEAM projects in 24 counties. These projects were led by approximately 860 classroom teachers and 230 arts or STEM professionals. More than 16,000 students and 1,500 members of the public participated. In addition to the support of the Benedum Foundation, matching funds assistance was also provided by the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, in cooperation with the Governor’s STEM Initiative, and by the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences.     

The STEAM Power WV program also funded professional development workshops for Cabell and Ohio County teachers. STEAM training was provided by the Huntington Museum of Art and Oglebay Institute in Wheeling. The division plans to fund at least 15 new STEAM projects taking place between January 2017 and June 2017. New 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 also may be involved. STEAM projects should encourage innovation, project-based learning, creativity, problem solving and other aptitudes that are critical to 21st century college and career readiness.

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