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Many artists and arts lovers trace their initial spark of interest back to a high school performing arts teacher. It’s from them that they learned to express themselves, assert their individuality, collaborate with others—and most of all, discover that distinct sense of excitement and possibility many of us only get from the performing arts. And so, Wolf Trap rewards the teachers who make it all possible—particularly those creating innovative new programs.
Wolf Trap Grants are awarded to individual public high school teachers in the performing arts for instruction leading to student performance. Selected teachers for the 2019-2020 school year each received a grant of $5,000 and represent Washington, DC; Montgomery County, Maryland; Prince George’s County, Maryland; Loudoun County, Virginia; and Fairfax County, Virginia.
2019-2020 Grant Recipients
Sandra Atkinson - Moving Language: A Toni Morrison Tribute of Dance and Literature
Northwestern High School, Prince George’s County, MD
Sandra Atkinson will utilize her Wolf Trap grant to provide a comprehensive study of Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. Students will partner with a guest choreographer and composer to create a dance performance inspired by Morrison’s work. The dance showcase will take place at Northwestern High School on April 29 and 30 and then at High Point High School on May 7.
Shanelle Ingram - Dreamgirls for a Cast with Dreams
Herbert Flowers High School, Prince George’s County, MD
Shanelle Ingram will use her Wolf Trap grant to bring the production of Dreamgirls to the Herbert Flower’s High School stage. This project will allow over 200 students to participate in the performing arts, thus enriching their high school experiences and providing invaluable life skills. Dreamgirls will be performed at the end of April 2020.
Shannon Lynch - Synetic Synthesis
Lee High School, Fairfax County, VA
Shannon Lynch will be using her Wolf Trap grant for her project called, Synetic Synthesis. Advanced theater students will partner with Synetic Theater Teaching Artists and use the company’s distinct physical theater style to devise personal and meaningful original pieces. The students will showcase their work on March 27.
Ivan Navas - El Tumbao Del Barrio (The Swing of the Neighborhood)
Columbia Heights Educational Campus, Washington, DC
With the Conga Drum as a bridge, students will explore the links between musical styles from Africa and the Americas. Community performances and workshops throughout the school year will foster cultural awareness, curiosity, and pride in the area’s diverse history.
Angela Ramacci - Circus of My Mind: Breaking the Cycle of Mental and Emotional Illness
Heritage High School, Loudoun County, VA
Angela Ramacci is bringing mental health awareness in the form of arts education to Heritage High School with the Wolf Trap grant. The theater department will use circus elements to investigate mental and emotional health. Students will work with artists and medical professionals to present the story of a young man searching for his place in the world. Their Circus of My Mind production will be performed in the spring of 2020.
Nicole Sherlock - Studio Music Project
Rockville High School, Montgomery County, MD
Under the direction of Nicole Sherlock, Rockville High School music students will explore compositional principals by working with a local artist to arrange a four-movement cinematic orchestration. The final movement will incorporate a film produced by the school’s TV/Media production students. They will present their work in a concert on April 30.
Russ Staggs - Giving Voice to Shakespeare Under the Stars
Loudoun Valley High School, Loudoun County, VA
Loudoun Valley High School Theater teacher Russ Staggs will use his Wolf Trap grant to showcase his Shakespeare Under the Stars outdoor production. Theater students will work with a voice coach to study vocal techniques and practice various dialects for The Taming of the Shrew. The grant will allow the performance to be offered to community members free of charge at the beginning of May 2020.
The 2019-2020 Wolf Trap Grants for High School Performing Arts Teachers program is made possible by support from Sue Henry and Carter Phillips. Additional funding provided by Mark and Jennie Bishof.
Eligibility and Application Process
Online applications for the 2020-2021 school year will be available in May 2020.
Most grant projects fall under one or more of the following categories:
- Artist Residencies – Wolf Trap will support residencies with professional performing artists to support and supplement classroom work leading to student performance.
- Commissions – Wolf Trap will support a teacher, student, or visiting guest artist in the creation of an original dance, music, or theatre piece for a specific group of students that would be performed by the students in concert.
- Master Classes – Wolf Trap will support a visiting guest artist to teach a series of master classes to students in conjunction with class study and student performance
- Technology in the Arts – Wolf Trap will support technological improvements that may allow for further educational opportunities in the arts and encourage technical and media applications in instruction leading to integration of technology in student performance.
- Arts and the Environment – Wolf Trap celebrates the relationship between art and nature, using the arts to help protect the environment. Grantees are encouraged to consider “green” projects and to create a culture of environmental responsibility in their performing arts programs.
- Arts Integration – Wolf Trap will support collaborations that explore core subjects or STEM classes through an artistic discipline. Grantees are encouraged to work with teachers of different disciplines to find innovative ways to reach learning goals and display student learning through a performance.
Eligibility for 2020-2021
- All grant projects must take place during the 2020-2021 school year.
- Applicants must be a public high school teacher of music, dance or theatre currently teaching in Washington, DC; Montgomery County, Maryland; Prince George’s County, Maryland; Loudoun County, Virginia; Arlington County, Virginia; or Fairfax County, Virginia.
- The majority of the grant money must be used for student instruction and learning. With prior approval from Wolf Trap, minimal funds may be used to purchase equipment if it is a major component of the project.
- The project should culminate in a student performance or presentation of learning. Grantee schools are asked to attend a performance and reception at the historic Barns at Wolf Trap in late April.
- Teacher grantees and their schools will be responsible for the design and implementation of proposed projects, which includes the selection of participating performing artists and works. Wolf Trap is not able to secure artists and/or permissions.
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