Art programs get a boost

Nonprofit’s grants assist students, teachers, schools

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Several art programs in Douglas County schools will get a financial boost, thanks to a new nonprofit organization that recently awarded its first round of grants.

Stars 4 Douglas County, which is dedicated to supporting the visual arts in public education, is awarding $6,000 in scholarships and grants to students, teachers and schools. The money was raised during the group’s December 2012 Masquerade Gala, which is expected to become an annual event.

Castle View High School art teacher Julie Holladay helped found the program, now an arm of the Douglas County Education Foundation.

“I was tired of seeing some of our programs get cut,” she said.

But when Holladay learned other schools also were struggling to raise funds for art programs, she decided more needed to be done. Art is a vital component of a child’s education, she believes.

“One of the first languages we learn is visual,” she said. “Art gets kids to see and visualize their learning, and teaches them to think outside the box.”

Three high school seniors, three art teachers, and two schools received funding for college educations, classroom supplies, and to expand art-related programming. Winning students include Douglas County High School’s Caroline Ray and Rebecca Houser, and Castle View High School’s Jenna McMullins, each of whom received $1,000 toward college expenses.

Winning teachers, who also received $1,000 each, include Soaring Hawk Elementary’s Kim D’Arthenay, the Renaissance School’s Pamela Cogburn and Flagstone Elementary’s Dianne Boice.

Coyote Creek Elementary and Douglas County High School were selected as winning schools, and will receive 25 percent of the proceeds from the 2013 Masquerade Gala to use for their art programs.

Coyote Creek art teacher Paige Eynon said the money her school receives will be put to good use.

“My budget’s limited,” she said. “I haven’t struggled with funding for my basic projects. It’s just those bigger things. The extra money is going to help me buy more supplies for kids to have more choice when it comes to their projects.”

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