Sisters Folk Festival gets 'Studio to School' grant

SISTERS, Ore. - Sisters Folk Festival Inc. was one of two Central Oregon organizations to receive a Studio to School grant from the Oregon Community Foundation.

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

An initial grant award of $70,000 will kick off the project created to deepen and expand music and art education at Sisters Elementary and Middle Schools.

The program will serve over 800 Sisters students, infusing the arts into innovative learning experiences by strengthening instruction in art and music. It also builds teacher's capacity to use art integration in core content instruction and arts enrichment activities while utilizing local, regional and nationally recognized artists and musicians.

The project will compliment the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiative by adding art into the curriculum.

SFF's Executive/Artistic Director, Brad Tisdel spearheaded efforts to create a compelling grant application that reflected the successes of the Americana Project as well as its vast potential.

"Our hope is for all students to have the opportunity to express themselves creatively, through piano, violin, visual arts instruction, arts integration, and the ability to integrate the arts as a key component to the STEAM initiative," said Tisdel.

OCF created the statewide arts education imitative, to mitigate drastically reduced or eliminated arts education in many Oregon schools. OCF 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.

"The Studio to Schools grant is an exceptional way for Sisters Folk Festival and Americana Project to engage more deeply in the Sisters community and schools," said Tisdel. "It is a game-changer for our organization. The possibilities are profound in how this investment will prepare our students for Sisters High School and life."

SFF Board Member Debbie Newport will be a part of the planning and implementation of the project.

"This is a very unique opportunity to not only partner with the schools to increase delivery of arts education, but also to collaborate with other community partners to create classroom experiences that incorporate music and arts into core content curriculum," said Newport.  "We are so grateful to OCF  for making this possible.  We recognize that we are one of a select few being given this opportunity to take arts education to the next level in our schools."

Program funding came through two OCF funds: The Casey Family Fund provided $2,000 and the Fred W. Fields Fund contributed $68,000. The mission of OCF is to improve life in Oregon and promote effective philanthropy. OCF works with individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create charitable funds to support community causes they care about. Through these funds, OCF awards more than $60 million annually in grants and scholarships.

To learn more about Sisters Folk Festival Inc. programs and events, call the office at 541-549-4979 or visit

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