Summer is drawing to an end and St. Louis kids are about to head back to school in the coming weeks. Teachers across the bi-state area are preparing for another busy school year and are finding ways to bring more arts into the classrooms. The Arts and Education Council’s Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers is a great resource for teachers looking to encourage creativity in their schools.

Maritz and the Arts and Education Council partner to offer this unique funding opportunity for individual schools and teachers to support projects and opportunities that encourage creativity in the classroom.

Mason Elementary in the St. Louis Public Schools district was one of 15 schools to receive a grant from the Arts and Education Council’s Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers during the 2018-2019 school year. With the grant, the sixth graders at Mason presented the musical “Shrek Jr.” in March.

The staff and faculty sought a production that would encourage the recognition of the school’s diversity and foster inclusion through the arts. “Shrek Jr.”, like the movie it is based on, focuses on characters that have been excluded by society. They come together and learn to accept each other for who they are while celebrating the things that make them different.

“We truly believe the story of Shrek will encourage a more inclusive community at our school,” said art teacher Karen Norman.

All sixth-grade students were given the opportunity to participate in the production. The school used the grant to pay for the script, costumes, paint, makeup, microphones and lighting equipment.

Mason Elementary School’s production of “Shrek, Jr.” is just one example of how educators have used the arts to enhance students’ learning through the Martiz Arts and Education Fund.

Applications for the Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers open August 12.

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Share this information with a teacher in your life who encourages creativity in the classroom.