ArtsErie funds four Mercyhurst projects

Carpe Diem
It’s been said “three’s a charm;” in Mercyhurst’s case, four’s the lucky number. At a press conference on Monday, Nov. 18, hosted by ArtsErie, Mercyhurst University learned that funding for all four of the arts proposals it had submitted was granted.

Those projects include:

  • Carpe Diem Academy: $5,000 for an “arts integration program”
  • Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture: $3,500 for the “2013-2014 Season”
  • Dance:  $3,250 for the “Amanda Edge in Residence” initiative
  • History: $2,578  for the “Erie Places, Erie Stories” public history project

           TOTAL: $14,328  

ArtsErie’s Project Grant program is highly competitive. Proposals are accepted once a year and reviewed by a volunteer panel for artistic quality, community engagement and impact and management. This year, 64 applications were received, with requests totaling $297,680. The ArtsErie Board chose to award $133,302 for 36 projects.

Sheila Coon, Mercyhurst director of external affairs and government relations, who provided support in preparing the grant proposals, said the university is pleased to have all four of its projects recognized by ArtsErie.

“Amanda Sissem (executive director, ArtsErie) told me the Carpe Diem Academy proposal was a perfect fit for the Virginia Vieser Arts Education Fund because it fit the spirit of the Vieser – arts integration in the classroom,” Coon said. “For the first time, ArtsErie awarded grants in the cultural category and we are thrilled that Dr. Chris Magoc’s history project was selected. MIAC and Dance have a perfect record of receiving ArtsErie grants and this year is no exception.”

The Carpe Diem Academy project utilizes Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a research-based teaching method to help students improve language and critical thinking skills through discussion of visual images. The program benefits economically disadvantaged kindergarten, first- and second-grade pupils in four Erie city schools as well as Mercyhurst’s own pre-service teachers in art education, who will use the VTS in small-group settings.

Faculty members involved include Mary Elizabeth Meier, Ph.D., director of art education; Leanne Roberts, Ph.D., education department chair; and Amy Bauschard, M.Ed., director of the Carpe Diem Academy. Mercyhurst currently employs 12 of its graduate students in special education and 15 undergraduate pre-service teachers in the after-school enrichment program.

The Mercyhurst Institute for Arts & Culture (MIAC) will present more than 50 programs this season, including live performances, simulcasts of the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD, the Langer, On Screen/In Person and Classic film series as well as student productions in theatre, dance and music for the greater Erie community. Jamie Grady directs MIAC.

The Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre (MBT) has invited Amanda Edge, formerly of the New York City Ballet and repetiteur for the Balanchine Trust, to stage Valse-Fantaisie, choreographed by the legendary George Balanchine. Edge will be in residence at Mercyhurst Feb. 1 through March 2. Tauna Hunter and Michael Gleason are co-artistic directors of MBT.  

“Erie Places, Erie Stories” is a public art and history project of the Mercyhurst History Department, directed by Chris Magoc, Ph.D., and a number of community partners, among them Robert Wooler, executive director of The Nonprofit Partnership.

Mercyhurst history students will photograph Erie’s historic structures, collect oral histories from people familiar with the buildings and assemble their work in a striking photographic tableau, which will be mounted at Stairways Center City Arts, 138 E. 26th St., in December. The students’ photos will be available for sale with proceeds going toward neighborhood nonprofit groups situated within the historic areas that students worked.  A number of the images remaining at the project's end will be mounted in the former Erie Sports Store building at 7th and State, now owned by HANDS (Housing and Neighborhood Development Service).

On a related note, two Mercyhurst projects: The Amanda Edge In Residence Program (Spring 2014) and the Chita Rivera lecture (Nov. 12, 2013) each were to be awarded $1,393 from the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Grants Program.

PHOTO: Session of the Carpe Diem Academy

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