Research studies show that incorporating the arts into a child's education enhances their overall academic performance and helps foster a thriving and culturally vibrant community. Since 2009, the Arts and Education Council's (A&E) Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers has provided more than $220,000 to individual schools and teachers to support projects and opportunities that encourage creativity in the classroom.  

The following 14 schools from across the bi-state region will receive grants for classroom-based projects in the 2017-18 academic year. The projects, funded in full by A&E's Maritz Fund for Teachers grants, represent a diverse range of creative activity from theatre to printmaking to stop-motion animation for elementary through high school students.

Digital and Advanced Photography students at Alton High School (Alton, Ill.) will create stop-motion animation videos using a series of photographs for their Claymation Stop-Motion Animation Project. This project will help students work collaboratively and utilize technology in an art medium reflective of the 21st century.

Buder Elementary School's (St. Louis) Bookmaking in the Classroom project will allow students to make a variety of books that let them express themselves artistically and through their writing. The aim of this project is to help students unlock their creativity and forge a personal connection to reading, writing and making art.

Central Intermediate School (Roxana, Ill.) will bring new light, new life and new colors into the music room with its Rainbow Ukulele unit. Through this program, students will learn to read music, achieve success and have their lives brightened with the light and joy of music.

Collinsville High School (Collinsville, Ill.) will use its grant to incorporate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the music classroom. During the six-hour camp, students will design musical instruments using 3D design software, produce their designs with a 3D printer, create electronic synthesizers using circuit boards and write music using Blockly coding language.

Griscom Public School's (St. Louis) In School Art Classes will provide school arts activities for detained youth in the St. Louis City Juvenile Detention Center, encouraging creative skills and allowing them to gain confidence in their new talents through the production and presentation of their work.

Hazelwood North Middle School (Florissant, Mo.) will use its grant to provide art supplies for students to create murals, mosaics and other creative pieces. Hazelwood North's goal for this project is to reach its full potential and serve as an inspiration to its students and the surrounding community.

The Bodies in Motion program aims to help students at Maplewood Richmond Heights Elementary School (St. Louis) make connections to who they are as people and gain a powerful sense of self-confidence. In this program, students will create clay models of themselves and transfer them into short movies via stop-motion technology to show their bodies in motion.

Mehlville High School (St. Louis) students will convert a vacant theatre storage room into a space for young theatre designers to learn industry standard software and equipment. This Designers' Makers Space Program will allow students in Advanced Design classes to create and work in a collaborative environment and gain a wide range of theatrical experiences.

Third grade students from Murphy Elementary School (High Ridge, Mo.) will take a field trip to Laumeier Sculpture Park (an A&E grantee) to inspire creative thinking and self-expression. While at the park, students will explore scale, space, balance, proportion and angles made by the sculptures in relation to nature. 

Normandy Schools Collaborative (St. Louis) will use its grant to add ten keyboards to its Elementary Piano Lab program, which was first funded by the Maritz Arts and Education Fund in 2014. Through this grant, elementary school students will have the opportunity to explore music theory, performance and composition through piano.

Normandy Schools 7th and 8th Grade Center (St. Louis) will also receive a grant to support its Speech, Drama and Debate Team. The funding will be put toward the middle school speech and debate tournament as well as the fall and spring middle school productions.

Special School District - Ackerman School (Florissant, Mo.) will put on a production of "North Pole Follies," a one of a kind musical designed to showcase students' abilities and allow them to enjoy the experience of performance, music and art. Maritz funds will be used to purchase costumes, set pieces, production technology, art supplies, music and instruments.

University City School District (University City, Mo.) will integrate art and science and help students make connections in a creative way through Printing Nature, a program in which students collect a variety of leaves and use them to create an art project that demonstrates their understanding of plant structure. 

Warrior Ridge Elementary (Warrenton, Mo.) will use its grant to grow its Teaching Artist Behavior (TAB)-based art class. Using this technique, students develop, plan and produce an original idea for an art piece, allowing them to dive into their passions, interests and ideas that help them grow.

For more information about these grantees and all of A&E's grant programs, visit