Arts & CultureBlogCulture Briefs

AthFest Educates Now Accepting Grant Applications

AthFest Educates is currently accepting applications for its next wave of music and arts grants. The nonprofit, which awards grants biannually in August and January, raises funds primarily through the AthFest Music and Arts Festival in June and the AthHalf Half Marathon in October.

Through the educational grants, as with its local events, AthFest Educates aims to sustain and promote the arts within the community, and to make education through art and music exciting and accessible to all children. The grants support new and developing programs that incorporate art and music in schools, libraries and other educational centers around Athens-Clarke County. Past grants have supported the purchase of new musical instruments for elementary and middle schools, funded student trips to theater performances and supplied visual art programs with new materials to aid in learning and personal expression.

Though the grants are often awarded directly to music and arts programs, many grant recipients use the funds to develop programs that simply use the arts as a method of enhancing education in other subjects. In these cases, young students have practiced drumming patterns to understand mathematic patterns (recipient Susie Criswell at Whit Davis Elementary), explored folk art and folktales to learn American history and social studies (Lane Guyer at Winterville Elementary), and applied the principles of dance to the life cycle of living organisms (Dawn Phillips at Winterville Elementary). Individual arts-based professionals are also eligible to receive grant funds for proposals such as attending a conference or taking a course to expand their capacity as educators of the arts.

The Lyndon House Arts Center received an AthFest Educates grant this past January to create a new digital stop-motion animation program for fourth and fifth graders. Proposed by Didi Dunphy, the program “The Way Things Move: Stop Motion Animation and Video” has been enjoyed by over 30 children through summer camps and workshops. Campers invented characters, stories and scenes—made out of everything from paper to pinecones—for short visual-narrative videos. Participants also had a chance to experiment with the more technical side of video storytelling, like lighting techniques and camera work. Ciné hosted a viewing of the short films during AthFest.

To be eligible for an AthFest Educates grant, applicants must be employed by (or partnering with) a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Clarke County School District (CCSD), or a local or state government agency, or serving youth in grades K-8 who attend CCSD public schools. Proposals should incorporate reusable equipment, provide for experiential learning through the arts or act as a professional development tool for arts-based educators or youth-development specialists. Additional guidelines and online applications can be found at

Applications for the fall grant cycle are due by Friday, Aug. 21, and award recipients will be announced on Monday, Sept. 14. The winter grant cycle will open Monday, Nov. 2 and close Friday, Dec. 11, with award announcements in January.