On June 16, 2021

Chaffee Art Center awarded grant to fund youth art program

The Chaffee Art Center, a non-profit community-based organization focusing on the arts, was selected June 10 to receive $38,675 in funding from the Summer Matters for All grant program. According to Governor Phil Scott, the Summer Matters for All grant program will award up to $3.85 million to programs in 13 counties with the goal of expanding access to summer enrichment opportunities for K-12 youth this summer.

The Chaffee’s summer program Explore the Arts! will invite kids to explore the arts (music, written word, theater, fine art, and more) with affordable camps and classes that will be on a need-based sliding fee scale.  Grant funding will help us to create a new media lab for youth to use on their own and build classes around. We will also have Art Kitz To Go for children to use at home with family and friends.

“We are extremely excited and thankful for the opportunity created by this grant funding. We will be able to help children and youth in our communities to reengage, connect and learn in a fun and creative environment. And at the same time, help families as they transition and adjust during this changing time,” said Sherri Birkheimer Rooker, Chaffee Art Center executive director. “As a community art center, we are grateful to have the funding to make a difference for those in our communities. Stay tuned for more details on how you can Explore the Arts! for a summer full of creativity, inspiration, and lots of fun at the Chaffee.”

Governor Scott has put an emphasis on helping Vermont kids recover from the pandemic and the isolation it caused, including creating opportunities for them to safely reconnect with their peers and their communities. The purpose of the grant program is to increase access to summer enrichment opportunities. This was a highly competitive process with 188 proposals submitting $7,427,584 in requests, far exceeding available funds.

The grants, funded by federal dollars administered by Vermont Afterschool as well as money from the Vermont Community Foundation, were awarded to a variety of programs, including summer camps, libraries, municipalities, teen centers, non-profit social service organizations and more, to expand the number of weeks and slots, as well as to increase affordability and accessibility of summer programs. These offerings will supplement school-based programs, as districts in Vermont received separate federal funds to support summer learning and afterschool programs.

“Summer is the perfect opportunity to help kids reconnect and recharge. We are incredibly grateful to our state leaders and policymakers for their commitment to the development of the Summer Matters for All grant program,” said Holly Morehouse, executive director of Vermont Afterschool. “With this funding, communities and youth-serving organizations across the state will be able to create a great summer for Vermont children and youth that will help them make new memories and emerge from the pandemic strong, resilient, and hopeful.” For more information visit chaffeeartcenter.org.

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