Museum Receives $50,000 Grant

With the help of a national grant, Kansas State University’s Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art is designing a program for children to explore the link between reading and art.

The Beach Museum of Art will use a $50,000 Museum Connections grant from the MetLife Foundation to create literacy and visual literacy programming based on an upcoming museum exhibition, "Beyond Oz: Children’s Book Illustrations From the Region."

The K-State art museum is one of only 17 museums and art centers selected to receive a grant from MetLife Foundation’s Museum Connections program, a national competitive initiative, this year. A blue-ribbon panel of museum professionals selected the grant recipients from more than 120 applications. MetLife’s Museum Connections program was created to bring local museums and communities closer together.

"We are most appreciative of this grant from MetLife Foundation and thank them for their generous support in this important educational museum program which will allow us to more effectively serve the youth of our communities," said Lorne Render, director of the Beach Museum of Art.

"The grant will be used to produce special ‘literacy crates’ that will be distributed to area Head Start programs and school districts in Manhattan, Riley, Wamego, St. George, Junction City, Westmoreland, Olsburg and Randolph," said Katherine Schlageck, museum education and public service supervisor.

The crates will be available in four educational levels: early childhood, beginning, intermediate and advanced. Each crate will contain five to six books from the exhibition, a curriculum with related art activities and other special materials to engage children with the books, such as puppets and felt boards.

"We also will conduct teacher, family and volunteer workshops on how to use the literacy crates and will work with area literacy volunteer programs, including K-State’s America Reads program," Schlageck said.

The crates and workshops will be ready for distribution in January 2003 but Schlageck said pilot programming will begin this month at the Bluemont Elementary School after-school program and at Kindercare Learning Center, both in Manhattan.

The $50,000 grant the Beach Museum of Art received was the second largest amount awarded by MetLife Foundation to recipients in the Museum Connections program.

"I think the reason the museum received such a large grant is due to the importance of literacy programming and because of the large scope of our program," Schlageck said. "I also think the inclusion of area schools and the potential of the literacy crates impressed panelists. "Although the ‘Beyond Oz’ exhibition runs July 20 to Dec. 15, the crates will keep parts of the exhibition alive for many years."

MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 by MetLife to support educational, health and welfare and civic and cultural organizations. The foundation has contributed more than $200 million to nonprofit organizations nationwide. In the area of arts and culture, the foundation is committed to supporting projects with large and diverse audiences that help promote greater understanding among different cultures. It aims to enrich society’s cultural resources on the national and regional level and to contribute to the vitality and quality of life. Contributions are made to organizations to provide opportunities to bring cultural experiences to wider audiences and contribute to the health development of young people.

The Beach Museum of Art is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. The museum is on the southeast corner of campus at 701 Beach Lane. Free parking for visitors is available adjacent to the museum. Call 785-532-7718 for more information.