FLHS, Franconia Sculpture Park receive grants

The St. Croix Valley Foundation recently awarded $45,557 to 20 schools and nonprofit organizations in Wisconsin and Minnesota through its Music Education and Valley Arts grants programs.

In Washington County, Forest Lake Area High School received a $4,896 Music Education Grant for Gear for Guitarists.

In Chisago County, Franconia Sculpture Park received a $2,500 Valley Arts Initiative Grant for the 2013 Community Collaboration Hot Metal Pour.

Other education grants were awarded to buy risers for a choir, to replace a sousaphone, to put on a musical, and to equip an elementary school for world music drumming.

Arts initiative grants went to support concerts, a hip-hop festival, and an effort to conserve the St. Croix Valley watershed through puppetry.

“Music has a positive impact on student learning, self-discipline, thinking skills and creative abilities,” said Andy Kass, co-chair of the Music Education grant panel.  “And there is a pressing need to provide resources that sustain and enhance music programs in our schools.”

The music education grants, given each fall to public and private elementary and secondary schools, are from an endowment fund created by a former music teacher.

The arts initiative awards go to nonprofit arts organizations on both sides of the St. Croix River.

“Often we overlook the benefits that arts organizations have for our communities, or the ways they celebrate our region’s unique sense of place,” said Grants and Programs Director Jill Shannon. “These projects draw residents to downtown businesses and offer new ways to explore environmental issues.”

Each year the St. Croix Valley Foundation receives an award from the Wisconsin Arts Board, doubles it with contributions from individuals and families, and then grants it to local arts organizations in the spring.