The Arts and Education Council (A&E) announced today receipt of $25,000 in renewed support from the Monsanto Fund for a grant program to provide arts in rural communities across the bi-state region.

Since its inception in 2007, the Monsanto Fund Rural Community Arts Education Program has provided more than $200,000 in arts funding to bring artists and entertainers into classrooms and performance venues so adults and children living in the rural communities surrounding the St. Louis metropolitan area have greater access to performing, visual and literary arts.

“The arts are a critical element of any vibrant community. They create a ripple effect of positive change by inspiring our kids, engaging our minds and enriching our lives,” said Cynthia A. Prost, A&E president & CEO. “This renewed support from the Monsanto Fund means A&E can continue to provide direct support to arts organizations in our region’s rural communities, where grant recipients have told us that the program plays an integral role in providing collaboration among artists, educators, businesses and community leaders.”

“As public funding for the arts continues to diminish, so does access for those whose lives would be enriched by either participating in or attending art programs,” said Michelle Insco, Monsanto Fund program officer. “The Monsanto Fund is proud to support the Arts and Education Council in its mission to ensure students and their families, especially those who reside in rural communities, have opportunities to enjoy the arts.”

Organizations that received funding in 2017 were: Highland Arts Council (Highland, Ill.), Looking Glass Playhouse (Lebanon, Ill.), Raintree Arts Council (Clarksville, Mo.), Sullivan Area Arts Council (Sullivan, Mo.), The Hettenhausen Center for the Arts (Lebanon, Ill.) and Warren County Fine Arts Council (Wright City, Mo.).

This support from Monsanto Fund adds to the institution’s existing support for the Creative Impact Fund at the Arts and Education Council. The Monsanto Creative Impact Fund program, launched in 2017, provides grants to arts and arts education organizations that demonstrate immediate need in support of new programs or projects. Recipients of Monsanto Creative Impact Fund grants in 2017 were: Arts & Faith St. Louis, The Black Rep, ERA Theatre, Saint Louis Story Stitchers and Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis.

In addition to support through the Monsanto Fund, Monsanto Company sponsored the Art Educator of the Year Award at A&E’s 2018 St. Louis Arts Awards on January 22. The 2018 Art Educator of the Year was Keith Tyrone Williams of Grand Center Arts Academy. Williams, a proud East St. Louis native, trained under the legendary dancer, choreographer and social activist, Katherine Dunham. He is now one of the few in the world certified in the Dunham Technique, which he incorporates into the classroom as he teaches the next generation of artists and community leaders.

For more information about the Arts and Education Council’s grant programs, click here or contact Matthew Kerns, A&E manager of programs and grants.