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MI Schools Win $70K For Field Trips

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ROYAL OAK (CBS Detroit) Field trips can be both fun and educational, and they can open up the big, big world of arts and culture that exists only outside the classroom.

But they can also be expensive.

To make sure local students don’t miss out on opportunities, the Michigan Youth Arts Association and Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs are awarding $70,000 in grants to Michigan K-12 schools to defray the cost of transportation for an arts and culture related field trip.

Think there isn’t a need? Don’t tell that to a teacher. “Originally, MCACA committed $45,000 for the spring cycle of the program — However, Michigan Youth Arts received an unexpected surplus of applications, totaling $93,000 in requests from educators throughout the state,” the foundation said in a press release.

In response to the overwhelming need, The Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation contributed an additional $25,000 to the program, bringing the total award amount to $70,000 to be distributed this spring.

“The Arts & Culture Trek Grant provides opportunities that encourage young people to experience the arts outside the classroom and bring what they have learned back inside the classroom,” said Pamella DeVos. “The quality of these field trips are not only important for their educational growth, but also teaches students to appreciate the many different kinds of artistic expressions that can enrich their lives.”

The grants will support field trips for 19,439 students in 190 schools throughout Michigan for field trips that will take place between March 1, 2013, and May 31, 2013. The program is a continuation of last year’s program, which was supported by MCACA, Ovation and Comcast.

“If the grant was not available to us, our students would not have been able to have such a wonderful experience at the Cranbrook Institute of Science,” said a teacher who got a grant last year. “We are a Title 1 school and our students are mostly from families with limited resources. They do not have many chances to venture out of our community and we are grateful these opportunities are provided for them.”

In further support of the Arts & Culture Trek Grant program, the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation has issued a 1:1 challenge grant with a match of up to $25,000 for the fall/winter of 2013. Michigan Youth Arts is currently seeking matching funds to ensure these educational field trips continue to take place.

To apply for the grant, educators chose from a list of various arts and cultural institutions that offer educational programming, exhibits and performances that enhance the arts and humanities curriculum outside the classroom, including the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Wild Swan Theater, The Henry Ford and over 150 other destinations.

A recent survey released by Michigan Youth Arts entitled Arts Education in Michigan discovered that 108,000 students go to school each day without some sort of exposure to music, visual art, theater or dance and that 45 percent of schools cited transportation costs as a significant barrier to arts-related field trips.

“It has been abundantly clear, through the arts education survey, that there are so many kids, who without the support of this program, would never have the opportunity to experience the incredible arts and cultural activities our Michigan organizations can provide,” said John Bracey, Executive Director of MCACA. “For some of these kids these trips may well represent a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to not only discover the arts, but also uncover the artist within.”

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