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  • Words by Amanda Seevers

Thea Foundation Kicks Off New School Year With Funding Over a Dozen Art Closet Projects Statewide in


Thea’s Art Closet, a Thea Foundation program which awards funding for art supplies and other creative materials to Arkansas classrooms, kicked off the first week of the 2019-20 school year with disbursing over $10,000 for 14 projects across the state that were matched with other donors, including The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This school year, Thea Foundation has $100,000 in available funding for Art Closet projects, which is double the grant money that was offered last school year.

“Arkansas teachers who are already aware of our Art Closet program began submitting projects for consideration earlier this month, so it was exciting to be able to fulfill their needs within the first week of the new school year,” said Nick Leopoulos, Thea Foundation’s Executive Director.

Thea Foundation is inviting public school teachers of grades K-12 across the state of Arkansas to submit requests for art supplies and other creative materials to DonorsChoose.org, a fundraising platform for public schools which allows teachers to essentially create a verified registry for supplies, to which the public may donate and to which Thea will donate up to half of the costs for creative projects submitted by Arkansas teachers.

“The tools you [Thea Foundation] have helped us purchase will further support students in creating their visual ideas and work like the true artists we believe them to be,” said Nakia Brener. Brener is an art teacher at Rogers Heritage High School in Rogers, Ark. and has received support for supplies through Thea’s Art Closet since 2014. Her latest project titled “Firing Students' Pottery to Perfection” was one of the first projects funded for the 2019-20 school year. More than half of Brener’s students are from low-income households.

New this year: A teacher is eligible to receive four of Thea’s Art Closet grants per scholastic year, two during the first semester and two during the second semester. High school teachers are eligible for funding from Thea for up to $1,250 for a project valued at $2,500 or less. Middle school teachers are eligible for funding from Thea for up to $750 for a project valued at $1,500 or less. Elementary school teachers are eligible for funding from Thea for up to $500 for a project valued at $1,000 or less.

All of the funded projects through Thea’s Art Closet can be viewed here along with other projects that are still in need of support.

In addition to Thea’s Art Closet, Thea Foundation also released the competition dates for Thea’s 2020 scholarship opportunities beginning with their Slam Poetry Competition on Saturday, February 29, 2020. Thea’s annual scholarships remain a unique offering for Arkansas seniors (available to homeschooled students as well) as test scores, GPA, nor intent to major in the arts is considered during the competition process. There are six different competitions to enter: visual arts, performing arts, slam poetry, creative writing, fashion design, and film—now in partnership with the Arkansas Cinema Society. Many students will benefit from Thea’s education partners, including almost every 4-year college and many 2-year colleges in Arkansas, where their scholarship could be matched with thousands more dollars in scholarship money.

Thea’s 2020 scholarship competition details as well as the applicable theme to five of the six competitions can be found here.

If you have any questions about Thea's Art Closet, please email Nick at nick@theafoundation.org. For any inquiries regarding scholarships or Thea's other programming, please email Amanda at amanda@theafoundation.org.

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