Grant supports ARTSMARTS Community Outreach Program

Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design’s ARTSMARTS Program will get a little more help thanks to a $30,000 grant from the Monsanto Fund.

ArtSmarts gives kids a chance to experience the joy and achievement of artistic creation. Each year, Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design brings more than 660 students (grades 5-12) to its gallery and studios to see and discuss exhibitions of contemporary craft and make artwork themselves.

Today, many underserved schools, strapped for cash and pressured to focus on “the basics” are severely cutting or eliminating art programs. Yet current education research shows that students need the arts—music, drawing, clay, dance…the list goes on—to help them learn how to think creatively, find inventive solutions to problems, follow through on challenging projects, and gain the ability and confidence to speak and write about their ideas. And it’s the students most at-risk academically who have the least access to these important learning experiences. ArtSmarts helps bridge that gap.

I cannot offer metals, glass, or fibers in my classroom, and our clay situation is very limited. It is priceless for students to experience the opportunity to work with materials and techniques that they do not see in the normal art class setting. And experience in the ArtSmarts program gives students an expanded view of what is available to them. It is deeply important that students have a strong concept of their own capability and potential. My students’ experience at ArtSmarts helps nourish this strong self-concept.

— Bill Perry, Art Teacher Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, St. Louis Public Schools.

ArtSmarts serves 22 challenged schools in the City of St. Louis and North St. Louis County.  Three times during the academic year, each school brings classes of up to 30 students to Craft Alliance, with each visit including an exhibition tour guided by a trained docent and a two-hour hands-on class with a professional artist. Each field trip is structured to introduce students to the craft media in which Craft Alliance specializes: clay, glass, metal, fiber and graphic arts. Students work in small groups to connect the ideas and themes they see in the gallery with their own creations in the studios. Instruction is keyed to school curriculum and Missouri state standards in Fine Arts.

This grant from the Monsanto Fund will help support ArtSmarts programming for schools within the St. Louis Public Schools, which represents the majority of student participants. V

Via Press Release


Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design is a non-profit art center dedicated to empowering and enriching communities through craft. Located in the Delmar Loop and the Grand Center districts of St. Louis, Missouri, Craft Alliance offers exhibitions, education classes for all skill levels, free community programs, artist residencies and a gallery shop. Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design is funded in part by the Arts and Education Council; the Regional Arts Commission; the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; and the generous support of its members. For more information, please call 314.725.1177 or visit