The 1889 Foundation and the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance (PRAA) are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 Creative Health Impact Grant Awards. The awards, which support arts programs related to health and wellness in Cambria and Somerset Counties, provide 1889 Foundation funds to programs selected by the PRAA.

Six programs were selected from 11 applicants, and will receive awards ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. The funded activities must take place between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

The 1889 Foundation’s initial commitment to the PRAA for Creative Health Impact Grant Awards is $25,000 annually for three years, with the possibility of renewal at that time. The gift comes from foundation funds that have been donor-designated to support arts programs. Applications for the 2017-2018 funding cycle will be taken starting in spring 2017.

Here is a brief overview of the funded programs:

Bottleworks Ethnic Arts Center – Project Title: “Mindful Arts Initiative”

Bottleworks Ethnic Arts Center’s project is a part of their emerging healing arts programs. The “Mindful Arts Initiative” will engage students of low social-economic backgrounds within the Greater Johnstown School District and others by implementing the Mindful Schools curriculum.  This curriculum promotes a calming, creative and supportive environment that prompts positive management of toxic stress that is common to the target population.

This grant will be used to fund the educational certification of the central facilitator for this program.

Community Arts Center of Cambria County –Project Title:  “The Language of Art”

The “Language of Art” program is designed to provide free art classes and workshops for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. The Community Arts Center proposes two six week sessions of art classes for adults that will take place during the fall and winter class sessions. In addition there will be 2 – 4 art workshops for deaf and hard of hearing children. Sessions will be structured and taught by a certified art therapist, and a qualified and certified American Sign Language interpreter will be present to interpret for the instructor and students. An exhibit of artwork will be held at the end of class and workshop sessions.

Johnstown Concert Ballet – Project Title: “Dancing for a Difference”

This project introduces Kairos Alive to the population of the region.  The mission of Kairos is to transform lives through intergenerational and interactive programs that promote the power to nurture, heal, and create a sense of community among all ages, abilities and cultural backgrounds. The artistic director of Kairos and several dancers will present workshops for hospital and hospice staff, assisted and independent living residents, and an Intergenerational Dance Hall for all ages and abilities. The programs are based on dance as a means for interactive participation through storytelling, theater, arts education, music, and health education.  In addition to the Kairos staff, this project includes Johnstown Concert Ballet, Out of His Mind dance studio, Sherry Lynn Ballroom Dancing and many healthcare and nursing partners in the region.

Mount Aloysius College – Project Title: “Opening Minds through Art at Mount Aloysius College”

Mount Aloysius College’s project is the implementation of a proven program called “Opening Minds through Art” as a part of its Expressive Arts for Healing academic program. OMA is an intergenerational art program for people with dementia. The program is founded on the fact that people with dementia are capable of expressing themselves creatively. It is implemented in small group sessions pairing patients with volunteers who have been trained to promote social engagement, autonomy and dignity of the patients.  For this project the trained volunteers will be Mount Aloysius graduate students. The art-making sessions will be followed by a public exhibition that will showcase the art that has been created and also educate the public about the creative capacities of people with dementia.  A member of the Mount Aloysius staff is

trained as an OMA facilitator. He will manage and oversee the project. The project has two components: training of the volunteers and then working hands-on with the patients.

Mountain Playhouse – Project Title: “Seniors on the Go: An Interactive Day of Artistic Discovery”

The program “Seniors on the Go: An Interactive Day of Artistic Discovery” addresses the problem of senior citizens lacking transportation to get to activities and events. The Mountain Playhouse will partner with a local charter bus company to offer free accessible transportation for two different matinee performances. The day trip will be enhanced with interactive arts activities during the bus ride plus a nature walk on the grounds of the Playhouse facility.  Arts activities during the bus ride will relate to the theme of each of the plays that will be seen in order to expand the overall theatergoing experience. Tour guides providing the interactive activities will come from area theater companies and college drama departments.

Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art – Project Title: “Arts for the Ages”

This project involves teaching artists participating in the National Center for Creative Aging’s Online Artist Training, followed by planning and implementing five-day residencies with participating senior centers. The online training is self-guided and offers an introduction to philosophy, key concepts, methods, and research from the field of arts in aging. It includes guidance on how to plan, implement and evaluate arts programming for older populations.  Teaching artists will work with the staff members at the senior centers to set goals, develop the arts programs, and evaluate the results at the completion of each residency. A public performance or exhibition will be held at the conclusion of each residency.