The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County has awarded six Walton County teachers more than $3,000 in teacher mini-grants and need-based grants for the third quarter of 2012. Teachers are awarded funds based on their application for specific arts project(s) and how the lesson will support the Florida Sunshine Standards, among other considerations.

The Teacher Mini Grant program allows teachers to enhance the visual, literary and performing arts experiences of Walton County school children in grades K-12, including public schools, private 501c(3) schools and home schools. The funding is applied toward special enhancement activities established by the teacher. Each mini-grant is up to

$350 and awarded to teachers quarterly by the CAA Educational Giving Program Committee.
The 2012 third quarter teacher mini-grant recipients include Bessie Miller of WISE (Walton Initiative For Success In Education) in Ponce de Leon; Patsy Lathinghouse of Maude Saunders Elementary in DeFuniak Springs; Geniece Maricle of Freeport Elementary and Heather Hester of Freeport Elementary. In addition, Constance Rogers of Butler Elementary was awarded funding for need-based scholarships for children.

"We're delighted to be able support the enhancement of art in our schools," said Janice Gaultney, chair of the CAA Educational Giving Committee. "Unfortunately, art is often one of the first areas to be impacted by budget cuts yet it's so valuable in enriching school curriculum."

A two year study by The Center for Arts Education of more than 200 public high schools in New York City found that those schools with the highest graduation rates had more arts teachers on staff, more dedicated arts spaces, more partnerships with cultural institutions, and more opportunities for art-related field trips.

"The teacher mini-grant program exemplifies our mission of supporting the arts through funding, programs and education," said Jennifer Steele, executive director of the CAA. "The feedback we're receiving from teachers is that these grants are making it possible to incorporate music, performing arts, visual arts and other art programs into the classroom that were previously not possible due to lack of funding."

The teacher mini-grant program and need-based grants have provided teachers more than $20,000 in grants in 2012. The CAA Educational Giving Program Committee awards grants each quarter. For more information, visit