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Release: Immediate

Carver Trust awards UI Hancher Auditorium $233,500 for ambitious arts education project

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust has awarded a $233,500 challenge grant to the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium to establish a three-year, curriculum-based arts education project at elementary and middle schools in six Iowa communities.

The grant, provided through the University of Iowa Foundation, will involve Roosevelt Elementary and Southeast Junior High in Iowa City; Johnson School for the Arts and McKinley Middle School in Cedar Rapids; Hoover Elementary and Hoover Middle School in West Branch; Columbus Junction Elementary and Columbus Junction Junior/Senior High; Wellman Elementary School; Mid-Prairie Junior High in Kalona; and Washington Elementary and Mt. Vernon Middle School in Mt. Vernon.

To receive the Carver Trust funds, Hancher must match each dollar of the grant with funds raised from other sources.

Beginning in the 1999-2000 academic year, Hancher will work with the UI Arts Share program to integrate the arts into the full curriculum of the schools, using UI graduate student artists and touring artists on the Hancher professional schedule.

Under the direction of Hancher's education coordinator, Michelle Coleman, the project will provide an annual seven-week program of in-school workshops, interactive activities through the Iowa Communications Network and live performances to enrich the arts curricula and to integrate the arts into social studies, literature, science and mathematics curricula.

"Substantial research has established a positive correlation between arts-based learning and a student's classroom achievement," explained Judith Hurtig, assistant director of Hancher Auditorium. "The goal of this project is to establish the arts as central to the educational mission because of the arts' ability to stimulate students' overall development."

The UI has been a national leader in arts education outreach. The pioneering work of Mary Louise Plautz in developing and sustaining the UI office of Arts Education and Outreach in the early 1980s made the UI a model center for arts outreach and laid the groundwork for both Hancher's current arts education program and the Arts Share program, which provides UI faculty and graduate student artists to schools and other community organizations throughout the state.

During his lifetime Iowa industrialist and philanthropist Roy J. Carver of Muscatine contributed nearly $10 million to the UI in support of scholarships, professorships, medical research, the UI Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC), the Iowa Opportunity Fund and UI athletics. Carver-Hawkeye Arena is named in recognition of Carver's gift to the Hawkeye Arena Recreation Campaign and many other projects. The Carver Gallery in the UI Museum of Art and the Carver Pavilion at UIHC also carry his name.

Since his death in 1981 the Carver Charitable Trust has continued his "commitment to helping youth through educational opportunities and to improving the quality of life through medical and scientific research." In the past 12 years the trust has contributed more than $21 million to UI projects.

"We are to extremely pleased to have Hancher receive its first gift from the Carver Trust for such an ambitious, worthwhile project," said Victor Mashburn, the University of Iowa Foundation's development officer for the auditorium.

The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel of support for private contributions to all areas of the UI. Foundation staff work with alumni and friends of the UI to provide funds for facilities improvements, scholarships, professorships and other forms of support.

To make a contribution of matching funds to the Carver Trust challenge grant, or to receive additional information, contact Mashburn at 319-335-3305.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Here are the participants or contact persons at each of the schools in the arts education project supported by the Carver Trust grant.

Iowa City Roosevelt Elementary: Nora Steinbreck, 339-6859

Iowa City Southeast Junior High: Deborah Wretman, Janet Bloom, 339-6823

West Branch Hoover Elementary: Chuck Bonjour, Susan Lehman, 643-7211

West Branch Hoover Middle School: Mark Steffen, 643-5324; Susan Lehman, 627-2458; Michael Hansen, 643-4111

Mt. Vernon Washington Elementary: Gary Nelson, 895-6251

Mt. Vernon Middle School: Tom Lass, 895-6254

Cedar Rapids Johnson School of the Arts: Susan Lagos, Damon Cole, 398-2174

Cedar Rapids McKinley Middle School: Tom Van Deest, Craig Wilson, 398-2348

Columbus Junction Community Schools: Marsha Gerol, Dan Vogeler, Jeff Tadsen, 728-2233; Julie Gentz, Chuck Reighard, 728-2231

Wellman Elementary: Mark Schneider, Luetta Ropp, 646-2984

Kalona Mid-Prairie Junior High: Becky Furlong, Wendy Allen, 656-2241