BEND, Ore. -

For more than two decades, schools have gone through budget cuts that have drastically reduced or eliminated arts education for many Oregon students.

In order to help alleviate this deficit, The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) has announced a new statewide arts education initiative.

Studio to School is a multi-year grant program to support collaborative projects between schools and community arts organizations to design and deliver sustainable arts education opportunities that have the potential for replication.

Through this project, OCF aims to increase arts opportunities for underserved youth in grades K-8 and to support communities in strengthening their ability to offer year-round arts education.

OCF recently awarded a total of $1,260,000 in individual grants of $70,000 each to 18 projects around the state for their first year of Studio to School funding.

Each project will receive two more years of funding at $70,000 per year and has the potential to receive $35,000 in funding for years four and five, with a possible total of $280,000 per project.

OCF will also convene all project partners for training, peer exchanges and professional development several times each year.

Preference was given to programs that: focus on low-income youth, rural youth or youth of color; include both in-school and out-of-school time programming; and expand on existing local resources and programs.

"We are a foundation that values education -- and the arts are a critical component of a complete education. We need solutions for making quality arts education opportunities available for all Oregon’s youth and we believe that our Studio to School partners are part of those solutions,” said OCF President and CEO Max Williams.

The two Studio to School grants awarded in Central Oregon were to the following organizations:

·       Sisters Folk Festival, Sisters; $70,000 to work with the Sisters School District to deepen and expand music and art education at Sisters Elementary School and Middle School.

·       Sunriver Music Festival, Sunriver; $70,000 to revive the band program, including both in- and after-school classes at La Pine Middle School, as well as offer some opportunities for elementary and high school students.

OCF also awarded more than $416,000 in grants to nonprofits in Central Oregon during the recent spring grant cycle and more than $11.7 million statewide.

Additional grants in the region included:

·       Bend Paddle Trail Alliance, Bend; $5,000 to transform a current safety hazard on the Deschutes River into a unique river park for community recreation and economic growth.

·       Children's Vision Foundation, Bend; $2,000 for vision screenings in Crook, Grant, and Wheeler Counties.

·       City of Redmond, Redmond; $10,000 for improvements to Sam Johnson Park which include a playground and other park features that meet ADA-accessibility standards.

·       Kemple Memorial Children's Dental Clinic, Bend; $25,000 for year one of two years' potential support to expand the children's dental program to serve 5000+ at-risk children in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties; may reapply for $20,000 in year two.

·       New Generations Early Childhood Development Center, Sunriver; $2,000 to fund operations and child care scholarships for impoverished families living in the Sunriver area.

·       Powell Butte Community Charter School, Powell Butte; $2,000 to implement a place-based outdoor program for 100 5th - 8th grade students.

For a full list of grants, visit www.oregoncf.org. More information about the Studio to School program can be found at http://www.oregoncf.org/grants-scholarships/grants/ocf-funds/studio-to-school.