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Writing collaborative grant supports Flathead Reservation school residencies

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News from the Missoula Writing Collaborative    

MONTANA — National Endowment for the Arts acting chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $27 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $20,000 to Missoula Writing Collaborative for creative writing residencies in schools on the Flathead Reservation of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Art Works is the Arts Endowment’s principal grant-making program. The agency received 1,605 Art Works applications for this round of grant making and will award 972 grants in this category.

“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Carter.

“The Missoula Writing Collaborative is proud of our long association with the schools and communities of the Flathead Reservation of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes,” said Leland Buck, president of the MWC board of directors. “The support of the NEA for these programs is a testament to the excellence of our writers and the creative work they facilitate with these amazing kids. Our ability to serve such a large number of students and schools in these communities is made possible largely through these NEA Art Works grants. We are honored to receive the NEA’s continued support.”

The NEA funds Our Words, Our Worlds, a project where MWC writers conduct writing residencies in five elementary schools on the Flathead Reservation. Writers work with 18 fourth and fifth-grade classrooms, teaching nearly 500 students. They use American Indian poetry as prompts then teach form poetry such as odes and letter poems as well as free verse poems about memory and place. Student work is published and distributed in free school poetry anthologies. Students recite their work in school poetry readings. The goal is to have students learn the joy of creating a poem, putting it on paper and revising it so they can share it with others. As students write about fishing, powwows, rivers, and rodeos, they learn the power and possibilities of language.

For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

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