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Arts and Education Council grants $45,000 to arts groups in Missouri, Illinois

Looking Glass Playhouse in Lebanon, Illinois, is one recipient of a set of grants targeting arts organizations in rural areas. 8/16
Arts and Education Council
Looking Glass Playhouse in Lebanon, Illinois, is one recipient of a set of grants targeting arts organizations in rural areas.

Nine arts groups in Missouri and Illinois will share $45,000 in grants announced Wednesday by Arts and Education Council, a nonprofit agency funded by private donations.

The money is split between two programs, each funded by Monsanto Fund. One offers general, organizational support to established arts organizations in rural areas; the other funds smaller groups planning new programs or events.

The funds targeted for specific programs support small arts organizations working to introduce new arts options to the public, according to Cynthia Prost, president and CEO of  Arts and Education Council.

“Mostly it’s small organizations who maybe don’t have access to our other grant programs,” Prost said, “but they come to us and say, ‘We want to do this project that we think is going to be very important to the community or it’ll have a certain impact.’”   

One such recipient is HEAL Center for the Arts, which offered a one-week jazz camp in July for participants in its three jazz ensembles of St. Louis-area students. To fund the camp, the group paired a $5,000 grant from Arts and Education Council with an anonymous $5,000 donation, according to organization founder Harvey Lockhart.

Lockhart said the program would have been canceled if either of those funding sources hadn’t come through. Instead, 21 students learned from six professional musicians who provided musical instruction plus a session on financial literacy and other practical matters related to life as a professional musician.

“They learned the business side, they learned their craft," said Lockhart, also band director and performing arts coordinator for Riverview Gardens School District. "We try to teach them every aspect of the business.” 

Another grant recipient is African Heritage Association of St. Louis, which will use the funds to present a concert by South Africa’s Soweto Gospel Choir at Touhill Performing Arts Center on Nov. 10.

Continuity STL will put grant funds toward a training program in media production for minorities.

Artica, the riverfront arts festival in St. Louis that will return in October, also captured a grant.

Sullivan Area Arts Council, Warren County Fine Arts Counciland Raintree Arts Council in Clarksville are the rural recipients of general operating support in Missouri. In Illinois, Looking Glass Playhouse in Lebanon and Our Common Ground in Greenville won grants.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter @JeremyDGoodwin

Jeremy is the arts & culture reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

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