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The Spanish Colonial Arts Society announces the receipt of a grant from the Harry Chapin Foundation to support the educational programs of the society, according to Donna Pedace, executive director of the society.
The grant from the Harry Chapin Foundation will be used to support the Arts Outreach Program, which is a school-based program where the society sends Spanish Market artists into the local public schools to teach hands-on art workshops to either fourth or seventh grade students.
These workshops are scheduled at the request of individual schools and teachers and, for many, these are the only art classes the students receive.
Often, the Spanish Market artists donate a portion of their time to this program, as they believe it is important for the children to learn about the traditional art forms of New Mexico — and the history and heritage behind them.
Each artist shares information about the heritage behind the art with the student, as they teach the art techniques. The teacher evaluations indicate that the heritage information helps make the programs such a success.
The Harry Chapin Memorial Fund was created in 1981 with help from Chapin’s former manager Ken Kragen and Kenny Rogers, who donated $150,000 from a benefit concert. Chapin’s widow Sandy Chapin, has led the organization from the beginning. While the name was changed to the Harry Chapin Foundation, its mission has stayed the same — to help make a positive difference in communities around the country.
As of December of 2010, the foundation has distributed close to $1.7 million to 399 organizations.