Dollars for the Arts Center | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dollars for the Arts Center

Posted By on Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 2:17 PM

An article in this morning's paper about the sudden resignation of Dr. Ellen (Nan) Plummer as executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center (more about that later) in the midst of its costly "Pharaohs" exhibit mentions a $20,000 grant from the Public Education Foundation of Little Rock that will provide the school district teaching materials about Egypt and send kids to the Arts Center.

The $20,000 -- or up to it -- will go to the Arts Center, foundation director Lisa Black explained today, to pay for training materials and time that district teachers take advantage of and student tours.

On our way into work this morning, a parent stopped me and asked, shouldn't that money have gone to district teachers, as it has in the past? It's a fair question. 

The grant is the first "innovation grant" that hasn't gone to schools, teachers or school programs, a history of the foundation's giving shows. The grant, designed for teachers of 7th grade social studies, also comes as schools are winding down -- benchmark tests are being given this week. School's out June 4. The exhibit ends in July.

If a school's seventh graders have already been to see the Pharaohs exhibit -- and 20,000 schoolchildren already have -- then another class can take advantage of the grant, Black said.

It's great the foundation, which is supported by private donations, can support the Arts Center -- which surely could use the help -- and in a perfect world, teaching children about ancient Egypt would be ideal. Still, it's a fair question the parent posed.


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