The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Nevada’s world-class performing arts center, announced today it has received a $100,000 grant from the national William Randolph Hearst Foundation that will fund an expansion of its Southern Nevada Wolf Trap (SNWT) Early Learning Through the Arts program in the 2017-2018 school year.
(Pictured: Tim Hanlon, Smith Center vice president of Development, Annette Hepler, grants manager with The Hearst Foundations, Dolores Hauck, Smith Center grant writer, and Candy Schneider, Smith Center vice president of Education and Outreach).
This is the first-ever grant awarded by the Hearst Foundation to a performing arts program in Nevada.
The funding will provide professional development for 75 Southern Nevada preschool teachers through 50 in-classroom residencies. Each residency will focus on developing arts-integrated teaching strategies that will enhance the education of 1,500 preschool students from low-income households.
“The impact of this support from such a prestigious group will be felt throughout our entire community, as it provides educational resources vital to our students’ lifelong success,” said Myron Martin, Smith Center president and CEO. “We are elated that our Education and Outreach programs are attracting national attention, and we are deeply grateful to the Hearst Foundation for its incredible generosity.”
The Smith Center partnered in 2008 with the acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts to provide the regional SNWT program, making Las Vegas just one of 16 cities nationwide selected as a host city for the initiative.
Under this school-readiness program, The Smith Center partners professional teaching artists with local preschool teachers during seven-week, in-classroom residencies, training the educators to utilize innovative teaching strategies that incorporate the disciplines of drama, music and movement.
Research shows the use of such arts-based strategies can enhance young children’s developmental skills, improving outcomes in key areas including literacy, comprehension, language and social skills.
Since The Smith Center opened in 2012, 1,030 early childhood educators in Southern Nevada have received training under SNWT. In addition, 4,179 students, predominantly from low-income households, have participated in the classroom residencies. All classrooms involved with SNWT have reported improvements in students’ academic performance.
The Smith Center initially developed its SNWT program through the support of United Way of Southern Nevada (UWSN). During the past two years, UWSN’s Women’s Leadership Council has championed the support for SNWT. This group’s support throughout the past eight years has been critical in expanding the program and garnering attention from national organizations such as the Hearst Foundation.
The William Randolph Hearst Foundation operates as part of The Hearst Foundations, national philanthropic resources for organizations and institutions working in the fields of education, health, culture and social service.
Reflecting the philanthropic interests of William Randolph Hearst, the foundations identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive and inspiring lives.
Since inception, the Foundations have provided more than 20,000 grants totaling more than $1 billion.
For more information about The Smith Center’s SNWT program, visit www.TheSmithCenter.com.
For more information about The Hearst Foundations, visit www.hearstfdn.org.