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Shawnee educators to benefit from $4K Avedis grant

By Vicky O. Misa | Vicky.misa@news-star.com | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star
A past participant of the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute is shown at Quartz Mountain during a workshop.

Shawnee area educators will receive help attending the Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute (OFAI) at home, thanks to a $4,000 grant from the Avedis Foundation.

The OFAI was established in 1983 in response to requests from educators across the state for high caliber continuing arts education.

The Avedis grant will provide scholarships for Shawnee-area public school educators (up to $500 each) attending this year's Oklahoma Fall Arts Institute, OFAI at Home.

“The Avedis Foundation is proud to support the Oklahoma Arts Institute with this grant,” Avedis President and CEO Dr. Kathy Laster said. “The positive impact this program has on the participants’ artistic growth has been demonstrated, and also shown in terms of increasing the effectiveness of arts education across the state.”

She said programs like these become more vital than ever to support as cuts to education weigh heavy on our local school districts.

The OFAI at Home virtual format will make workshops more accessible to educators throughout Oklahoma and will allow for a greater number of participants than through in-person programs at Quartz Mountain. This potential increase in participation directly ties to the strategic goal of expanding outreach, especially to rural and underserved areas of the state. Workshop offerings will take place through December.

“With educators facing so much uncertainty during this school year, Oklahoma Arts Institute President and CEO Julie Cohen said OAI hopes to provide a flexible experience that will allow educators and other artists to engage online through a variety of workshop opportunities from the safety of their own homes.

The Institute typically consists of a series of intense, hands-on weekend workshops in the literary, visual and performing arts for adults 21 and older.

Last year, 196 public school educators from 41 counties and 133 school sites statewide attended OFAI workshops. Based on participant evaluations, it is estimated that the Arts Institute indirectly serves more than 50,000 elementary, middle school and high school students every year through teacher participation.