The 1889 Foundation and Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance (PRAA) are pleased to announce the 2021-2022 recipients of the Creative Health Impact Grant (CHIG) Awards. The awards provide up to $50,000 in 1889 Foundation funds to support arts programs related to health and wellness in Cambria and Somerset Counties.

“We are very excited to see how our local arts organizations with guidance from PRAA continue to bring ambitious and innovative arts programs for us to fund that align with our mission,” said Susan Mann, president of 1889 Foundation. “The partnerships that have been formed between 1889 Foundation, PRAA, and the arts and non-profit organizations through the CHIG awards will impact so many more people with these programs than any of us could ever reach on our own. That alone is a testament of how important it is to be able to provide different approaches to how we all work together to achieve the common goal of improving lives by improving health.”

The 1889 Foundation gift comes from foundation funds that have been donor-designated to support arts programs, and all funded activities will take place between September 1, 2021, through August 31, 2022.

“This is the sixth year of this grants process. Each year we have seen an increase in the strength and the creativity of the arts and healing projects and programs that are developed. This year’s projects cover a wide spectrum of arts activities providing healing and wellness for a broad constituency,” said Becky Catelinet, executive director of the Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance. “The COVID pandemic has shown how much we need the arts to sustain and heal us.”

The thirteen sponsoring organizations and their funded programs are as follows:

1901 Church, Inc. – “Senior Chamber Experience”: Building on a successful grant application in the 2020-2021-year, 1901 Church will present its own chamber series of four concerts. The goal is to provide ongoing opportunities for seniors in assisted living to get out more and enjoy quality live music experiences.

Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center – “Mindfulness & Art Club & Exhibition at Conemaugh Valley Elementary School”: An after-school Mindfulness & Art Club comprised of students, teachers and staff will help participants build upon the mindfulness tools learned in school and provide additional art making experiences for those who have a deeper interest in creative expression. A school-wide art exhibition with an opening reception will showcase the artwork.

Cambria County Library – Greater Johnstown CREATES (Community Energized by Art, Talking & Empathy): This project offers a supportive space for both teens and adults to talk about their pandemic experiences and communicate them through a variety of art disciplines to include various types of painting, photography, sculpture, beadmaking, and writing. The work will be guided by art therapists and the artwork will be displayed in the library.

Community Arts Center of Cambria County – “Insightful Art”: This project will provide art and craft classes to the Blind & Visually Impaired community as a means of communication, self-expression, and emotional release to bridge the social gap between B&VI and the public. Two 8-week sessions of art classes for adults will be held, with each class featuring a sensory or touch-based activity, followed by a corresponding art or craft project for students to complete.

Flood City Youth Fitness Academy – “Flood City Youth Fitness Academy Johnstown Juneteenth Celebration”: The Flood City Youth Fitness Academy and the Johnstown Branch NAACP will host the Johnstown Juneteenth Music Celebration and kick off a week of activities and family-fun events for the community and visitors to share in African American culture, food, and music in downtown Johnstown.

Gallery on Gazebo – “Melodies in the Making”: This project is a nine-month program to engage older citizens in the art of singing. As the singing sessions progress and new music is introduced, the participants will improve self-confidence, learn to control breathing, interact with others, and release anxiety.

IUP Research Institute – “The Protecting Veil: A creative health and body awareness program”: “The Protecting Veil” is a creative health and body awareness program for preschool children through grade school. The program is designed to educate young students on body/mind connection through creative movement to help prevent bullying, abuse, and sexual violence. The program will train preschool through grade schoolteachers with workshops and follow up work with students.

Laurel Highlands Historical Village – “Music for Veterans with PTSD and other war related issues”: The project creates an opportunity for veterans to come together to learn about and create music, while also getting help with PTSD and other issues. The folk duo Simple Gifts will work with attendees to learn musical concepts, create musical arrangements, and form personal bonds with others in the group. A public concert will conclude the project.

Laurel View Village – “Connecting, Inspiring and Thriving Through Art”: Building on the success of the 2020-2021 year’s grant project, Laurel View Village will again work with artist Jessica Gorlin Liddell to create a mosaic wall art piece. The artwork will be created by residents from all levels of care, including staff, residents, residents’ families, and friends.

Small Town Hope, Inc. – “Small Town Hope Hat Design Project”: Kids will design and create a wearable hat. While learning about fashion design and health benefits of hat-wearing, they will deconstruct old hats to see how they’re made for inspiration of their hat designs. The creative hats may have unique materials, intricate designs, or extraordinary purposes. By combining the deconstructed parts with new materials, children will have an explorative art experience to create a functional work of art. Hats created will be displayed at The Treehouse in a Hat Design Project Exhibition.

The Learning Lamp – “Positive Behaviors Interventions Initiatives Phase 4”: Positive Behaviors Interventions Initiative (PBII) Outreach programming has been previously funded. Building on past years, this year’s project will focus on healing from the pandemic and reinforcing SEL skills to help each student cope and thrive in the global pandemic’s wake. PBII-4 is aimed at restoring children’s social-emotional development by introducing more intensive therapeutic arts strategies.

Venue of Merging Arts – “Band Together – Music for All”: This project includes increasing awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Four Autism Friendly Open Mic events will be held in 2022 on the second Sunday of April, May, June, and July. Each Open Mic will feature an Emcee and several members from Band Together Pittsburgh’s Spectrum Band which features performers that are on the autism spectrum. The performers will encourage attendees to express themselves by creating and performing on the venue stage.

Veteran Community Initiatives, Inc. – “Veterans Art and History Program”: VCl’s project combines “Veterans History Project” with an art therapy piece, to encourage wellness and healing. VCI will collect and preserve veteran stories and veteran art pieces which will be sent to the U.S. Library of Congress to be preserved for history, genealogy, and research. The art therapy component includes a focus area for participants to choose to either paint, draw or sketch artwork with the theme “Healing and Hope.” A VCI staff member will receive Mindfulness certification and will lead the art workshops.