The Oklahoma Arts and the Military grant program will assist Leonardo's Children's Museum and Eisenhower Elementary School continue their partnership to provide students with art instruction.

Leonardo's was one of nine Oklahoma organizations selected for funding through Oklahoma Arts Council, for arts programs designed to serve military communities.

Among the funded programs are guitar lessons for veterans, pottery classes, a play centered on the experience of women in the Vietnam War and online vocal music instruction for residents at a state veterans center.

Nine organizations in seven communities were awarded a total of $37,751, including $5,000 for Leonardo's Children's Museum.

Tracy Bittle, Leonardo's executive director, said the $5,000 grant will help fund the Leo's and Eagles Art Partners (LEAP) program, through which Leonardo's arts instructors go to Eisenhower, the Enid Public Schools campus that serves elementary school children from Vance Air Force Base.

"When we saw the opportunity to have the arts classes offered through the Oklahoma Arts and the Military grant, I thought it was the perfect opportunity," Bittle said.

And, with the grant funding, Bittle said Leonardo's will be able to bring Eisenhower students to the children's museum in the spring for pottery classes.

Lyntel Murphy, Eisenhower principal, said she and her staff are excited for the opportunity to expand arts instruction for their students.

Previously, Murphy said teachers and parents were hosting fundraisers to cover arts instruction. With the grant, Murphy said the school will be in a better position to round out students' education with art.

"Art is important," Murphy said. "Not all students can excel in other areas, and art gives students opportunity. Art and music always help with other areas — they help with math and with reading."

EPS Superintendent of Elementary Education Randy Rader said the grant and Leonardo's assistance represent great support Enid's public school students.

“We’re always so happy when our schools are supported by the community and this is a wonderful opportunity for our Eisenhower Eagles," Rader said. "Thank you Leonardo’s for supporting our students!”

Other programs receiving grants through the Oklahoma Arts and the Military program include:

• Ardmore Little Theatre – $3,171 (performance).

• Artist Incubation in Guymon ­– $5,000 (visual arts classes).

• Barthelmes Conservatory in Tulsa – $4,730 (professional development).

• Circle Cinema Foundation in Tulsa – $1,250 (screening and virtual exhibition).

• Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee – $5,000 (professional development).

• Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center in Oklahoma City – $3,600 (visual arts classes).

• Opry Heritage Foundation of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City – $5,000 (performing arts instruction).

• Scissortail Productions in Oklahoma City – $5,000 (performing arts instruction).

“Announcing the awards for our Oklahoma Arts and the Military Grants on Veterans Day reminds us of the endless opportunities that exist for the arts sector to serve those who have courageously served Oklahoma and our country,” said Oklahoma Arts Council Executive Director Amber Sharples. “We are committed to leveraging the transformative power of the arts for all Oklahomans, and we commend the work of the nine organizations awarded in this round of funding for the thoughtfulness put in to their programming to meet unique needs in our state.”

An estimated 5,000 military-connected Oklahomans will be served through the programs funded by the awards.

For more information about Oklahoma Arts and the Military Grants, visit arts.ok.gov.

Oklahoma Arts and the Military Grants are made possible in part by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mid-America Arts Alliance.

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