Drake’s School of Fine Arts and Friends of Drake Arts have received an $8,000 grant from Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino through its 2006 Community Betterment Grant Program. Grants were awarded in late December, and Drake will receive the allocated funds at an awards luncheon this week.
The grant provides funds for Drake’s Theatre on Tour: Des Moines Schools-Drake University Fine Arts Connection for use during the 2007-08 academic year.
Drake theatre students will bring a production of a contemporary play to more than 2,000 students from Des Moines public high schools. The play will be performed at each of the five high schools, accompanied by discussion materials provided by Drake theatre and social sciences faculty members.
“These performances will help our students see the high-quality productions that Drake is known for,” said David Johns, coordinator of the humanities curriculum for Des Moines Public Schools. “In addition, they will see how the arts play a vital role in framing the complex issues of daily life.”
The grant marks a continuing collaboration between Drake Fine Arts and the Des Moines Public Schools made possible through grants from Prairie Meadows. A $10,000 grant awarded last year has been transporting Des Moines high school students to the Drake campus over the past year to attend performances and exhibitions and interact with Drake faculty and students.
“We really value our partnership with Des Moines Public Schools,” said John Burney, Dean of Drake’s College of Arts and Sciences. “It’s a wonderful give-and-take relationship — we’re able to provide arts to enrich the high school students’ curriculum, and they provide a diverse and interested audience for our students.”
This semester students will attend special weekday performances of several productions that also have public performances, including “Gaslight,” a play written by Patrick Hamilton; the Drake Fine Arts Trio concert, and Drake Opera Theatre’s performance of the English version of Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus (The Bat).”
Prairie Meadows’ 17-member grants advisory committee, comprised of education, religious and business leaders from the greater metro area, reviews all grant requests and recommends funding levels. This year, more than 150 organizations shared in the funding allocations, selected from a field of more than 300 applicants.