HEARTS announces 2019-20 grant recipients

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First graders at last year's program hosted by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, one of the many programs sponsored by HEARTS over the course of last school year. (Photo courtesy of HEARTS)

HEARTS, a community organization that “helps enrich the arts in Port Washington,” has announced its grant recipients for the 2019-20 school year. 

“Our 2019-2020 grant programs create projects for a wide range of artistic styles, creating unique opportunities to engage and experience the arts,” said Joel Ronis, president of HEARTS. “What is learned today impacts a student for the rest of their life.”

While most of the grants go toward programs at Port Washington’s public schools, last year the group began providing grants to some nonschool-based community organizations, which it will do again this year. 

Each year, a grant is distributed that is to support a program at all of the schools in the Port Washington district. 

This year’s districtwide grant will provide chorus students grades 5-12 an opportunity to perform at the Tilles Center at Long Island University. The program is co-funded by the Creative Arts Department and the Ed. Foundation.

Funds will also be used to provide scholarships to students at Port’s elementary schools and Weber Middle School to attend the Port Washington school district’s summer music program. HEARTS also donates to the summer music program itself. 

Students in grades 3-5 will also have the opportunity to attend “an after-school, student-driven creative exploration.” At the program, participating students will be able to work with ceramics, painting, printmaking and mixed media to create visual expressions of their feelings, experiences and interests.  

HEARTS is also providing grants for a variety of drama experiences including Curtains Up: A Musical Theatre Experience for fourth and fifth-graders in spring 2020; a fall drama production by the Schreiber Theatre Company; a musical production for Schreiber Theatre Company; a trip to Classical Theatre of Harlem; a program for third-graders at Daly Elementary School to play notable historical figures in a live performance; and Storytime Theater, where students act out a piece of literature. 

The community group also supports a number of school programs that include Dancing Classrooms, a ballroom dance residency for fifth-graders; a photography studio for Schreiber High School students; Jazz Day for Schreiber Big Band participants; the Memory Project, in which art honor students will create portraits of orphaned, neglected or disadvantaged teens around the world; a woodwind and brass program for middle school students; an ongoing class that incorporates more technology into the general music curriculum; an afterschool club that focuses on the technical side of music and theater; Weber Pop Choir; a dance program for pre-kindergartners; and a residency from Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre that will teach first-graders West African dance. 

The grants that HEARTS is providing to the community are to the Port Washington Parent Resource Center for a music program for it’s pre-K classes, a painting class for the Port Washington Adult Activities Center, Port Summer Show, the Community Synagogue Theatre and HEARTS Master Class at Landmark on Main Street. 

Teachers and community organizations send proposals for HEARTS to be considered for a grant. A committee of HEARTS members then selects the programs it can support that year. 

The organization raises money for its grants through community events it hosts, such as PortFest and the Red Party, and through donations.  

“The power of HEARTS lies in the passionate commitment of our volunteer parents and community members,” Ronis said. “Together, we strive to make the arts accessible, to parents and students alike, across Port Washington. Our dearest wish is that all kids and adults recognize the life-transforming possibilities that exist in the arts.” 

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