Vermont Press Releases

Arts education grant will benefit local school aged children

Aug. 15, 2012

Jody Fried, Executive Director
Catamount Film & Arts
[email protected]
802/748-2600 ext. 105

A collaborative project between two of St. Johnsbury’s cultural institutions that is intended to benefit the school aged children of the area will soon become a reality as a result of a generous grant from the Canaday Family Charitable Trust.

The trust recently announced that a three year grant in the amount of $103,500.00 has been awarded to Catamount Arts for the development of a children’s arts education program in collaboration with the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.

Beginning in September, representatives of Catamount and the Athenaeum will begin work on the project which will utilize the facilities and resources of both institutions.

The goal of the project is to begin offering a series of arts education classes in the fall of 2013 to children from area elementary age school children.

During the 2012-2013 school year, the collaborators, working with a consultant, will develop a specific curriculum of courses and secure a coordinator and instructors for the two-year pilot program of arts education classes.

It is hoped that this arts education program will result in a variety of affordable arts classes being made available to a wide range of area children, according to Jody Fried, executive director of Catamount Arts.

“We are excited about working with the Canaday Charitable Trust and the Athenaeum to develop this program,” Fried said recently. “It offers a unique opportunity to help area children access the great cultural and artistic wealth available in our community.”

Matt Powers, the executive director of the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, is also looking forward to this collaborative effort and what it means for area school aged children.

“The Canaday Trust has given our local children a wonderful opportunity to study the great cultural legacy of the Fairbanks Family and to become familiar with the other artistic resources available at the Athenaeum as well as at Catamount Arts,” Powers added.

The primary purpose of the Canaday Family Charitable Trust is to encourage and support not-for-profit organizations that work in Vermont to improve the lives of children and families, promote environmental education and conservation, and preserve the environment.

The foundation seeks to fund innovative programs with clear, measurable goals for creating unique and significant improvements in the lives of children and in the environment.

The Canadays, Ward Murphey and Mariam Coffin, became residents of Toledo, Ohio in 1916. In 1935 Mr. Canaday took over and revived the ailing Willys Overland Corporation, a local car manufacturer, and in 1940 he led the effort to develop what became its most famous product, the JEEP.

Mrs. Canaday was a poet, classical scholar and patron of the arts. They began a program of charitable giving in 1945, supporting educational and artistic endeavors at home and abroad.

After their deaths, this tradition was continued by their family and now is carried on through the work of The Canaday Family Charitable Trust. The Trust's current focus on Vermont reflects the Canadays' long-term attachment to the state where they spent many summers.

That tradition also was valued and retained by the family, some of whom have become year-round residents in the state.

A third valued Canaday tradition that has endured through subsequent generations is the principle of partnership, of encouraging differing interests to work together to achieve a common, sustainable philanthropic goal.

“With our collaboration on this unique and valuable arts education program for area children,” added Fried, “both the Athenaeum and Catamount are proud to continue the Canaday tradition of cooperation and working toward a common, sustainable goal.”


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