CONTACT: Jami Goldstein
(614) 221-8492
jgoldstein@gcac.org

May 17, 2011

American Electric Power Foundation Grants $120,000 to Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Community Arts Education Program

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Columbus, Ohio – American Electric Power Foundation has announced a $120,000 grant to the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Community Arts Education program.

“All segments of our community are undergoing continued financial strains and arts education is no exception,” said Milt Baughman, President of GCAC. “We are grateful for AEP Foundation’s generous support allowing us to restore programming that would have been significantly reduced for children and young people in our most challenged neighborhoods.”

“Through this grant, the AEP Foundation will help young people in our community continue to have creative experiences in the arts and at the same time provide local artists opportunities to share their talents and sharpen their crafts,” said Susan Tomasky, president, AEP Foundation.

GCAC’s Community Arts Education program includes Artists-in-Schools, the Franklin County Neighborhood Arts grant program and Art in the House/TRANSIT ARTS. These programs provide safe and enriching environments as well as opportunities for skills development, public performance and paid apprenticeships for underserved young people, employment and economic stimuli in the arts community, arts learning and arts education materials in Central Ohio classrooms, and in general increased community participation in the arts.

This grant from the AEP Foundation helps offset funding reductions received from Franklin County. In anticipation of reduced funding for local governments from the State of Ohio, the County reduced its funding to GCAC for these programs from $450,000 to $300,000 this year. GCAC had developed a plan to both scale back the programming in response to the cuts as well as seek additional funding.

The AEP Foundation funds will support all three program areas within Community Arts Education.

With the assistance of AEP Foundation funds, the Art in the House program will be reinstated for a full two-month summer and a four-month program this fall (first half of the 2011-2012 school year) across all five settlement house sites. This contribution covers artists’ fees apprentice artists’ fees, and art supplies, as well as supporting insurance and training. Funding restoration means that from June through December 300-400 children, ages 5-12, living in some of the city’s most challenging neighborhoods, will have access to the Art in the House program through over 2,200 child contacts with teaching artists, and over 220 art-making workshops and educational field trips.

AEP Foundation funds will support GCAC partner program, TRANSIT ARTS, in paying for writing, dance, and visual arts workshops for youth at multiple sites, as well as expenses associated with the TRANSIT ARTS touring performance group and open mic events throughout the rest of 2011. With this funding, at least 50 additional youth (12 – 21) will gain access to the TRANSIT ARTS program, through over 275 youth contacts with arts leaders and teaching artists. Up to 35 more workshops, open mics, performance and exhibition opportunities, field trips, audience experiences at arts performances will take place that otherwise would not.

An additional round of funding will now be possible to support Franklin County Neighborhood Arts grants, a program that supports arts project grants to smaller organizations in Franklin County. Funds would be used to make 15-20 awards to local, neighborhood associations, guilds, small arts organizations, and other grass-roots organizations to produce arts projects serving 25,000 – 40,000 county residents. The American Electric Power Foundation is funded by American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) and its utility operating units. The Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area.

The Foundation’s areas of focus include special emphasis on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education, protecting the environment, providing basic human services in the areas of hunger, housing, health and safety, and enriching life through art, music and cultural heritage.

The Foundation is based in Columbus, Ohio.

About the Greater Columbus Arts Council: Through vision and leadership, advocacy and collaboration, the Greater Columbus Arts Council supports art and advances the culture of the region. A catalyst for excellence and innovation, GCAC funds exemplary artists and arts organizations and provides programs, events and services of public value that educate and engage all audiences in our community. GCAC thanks the City of Columbus, Franklin County and the Ohio Arts Council for their continued support.

# # #