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Teaching Students to Read through Theater: Center ARTES Receives Grant from National Endowment for the Arts

Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), recently announced that Center ARTES at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), a nonprofit arts education program housed within the university, has been awarded an $18,000 grant to teach a one-year reading skills through theater program at Maryland Elementary School in Vista, California.Driven by the center’s mission to enrich education by bringing the arts into local public schools, Center ARTES will introduce TELL! Theater for English Language Learning at Maryland Elementary beginning in the fall. The one-year project will focus on teaching reading skills to English language learning students through theatrical performances. Students and their teachers will have the opportunity to work with two teaching artists, Eduardo Parra and Radhika Rao, as well as a CSUSM theater professor to create an adapted version of the award-winning book “Clementine” by Sara Pennypacker. The grant will also enable the students to meet Pennypacker and Marla Frazee, the illustrator of “Clementine” and Caldecott award winner.“The children at Maryland Elementary have enormous potential,” said Dr. Merryl Goldberg, executive director of Center ARTES. “They have shown it and their teachers know it, despite the barriers of homelessness, low income, and concurrent learning of English along side of content matter. TELL! provides the children with a unique opportunity that engages them in learning English, reading, communication skills, and public speaking skills through theater.”Center ARTES is one of 1,145 not-for-profit organizations nationwide to receive funding as part of the federal agency’s second round of fiscal year 2011 grants. In total, the Arts Endowment will distribute more than $88 million to support projects. As an independent agency of the federal government, NEA advances artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities.“Our research shows that three out of four Americans participate in the arts,” said Landesman. “The diverse, innovative, and exceptional projects funded in this round will ensure that Americans around the country continue to have the opportunity to experience and participate in the arts.”For more information, contact Center ARTES at (760) 750-4431.About Center ARTESCenter ARTES was founded at Cal State San Marcos by Dr. Merryl Goldberg in 2003. Her vision was to create an organization dedicated exclusively to arts education in K-12 schools, including training university students as they prepare to become teachers. Center ARTES is dedicated to restoring arts education to the public schools through training student teachers, classroom teachers, placing artists in schools to work with children and teachers directly and working with school districts on strategic planning, research, and evaluation. Center ARTES partners with the San Diego County Office of Education providing a hub for arts education to unite schools, develop art partners, and bring teachers and parents together.About the National Endowment for the ArtsThe National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.About California State University San MarcosCalifornia State University San Marcos combines the ambiance of a mid-sized, personal, modern campus with the unequaled value of the California State University. Since its founding in 1989, the campus has distinguished itself. Students benefit from the latest facilities and equipment, a superb faculty that enjoys teaching, and a rigorous academic program that prepares students for a successful life in and out of the workplace. A recent survey reported that our annual spending in the region was $161 million, generating a total impact of $307 million on the regional economy. 85 percent of CSUSM’s alumni stay in the region. CSU San Marcos is located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the city of San Marcos. It is 15 miles east of the ocean; just 30 miles north of downtown San Diego.