Community Foundation of Sarasota County Awards More Than $165,000 for Arts and Cultural Explorations Through EdExploreSRQ
Since February of 2014, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has awarded 84 grants totaling $165,283 to fund arts and cultural experiences for teachers and students through EdExploreSRQ, a web-based search platform that features hundreds of offerings by local nonprofits and individual teaching artists.
In 2014, the Community Foundation committed $500,000 over five years to fund EdExploreSRQ explorations, particularly for students in lower-income communities. Additionally, the Community Foundation and The Patterson Foundation created an EdExploreSRQ Endowment Fund to increase awareness and funding for these explorations.
EdExploreSRQ was established in 2011 by The Patterson Foundation in partnership with the Sarasota County School District, Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota, Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida, and in participation with local artistic and environmental treasures. The initiative utilizes a matchmaking website to pair grade appropriate experiential learning for students in grades K-12 with local educational and cultural organizations. Teachers and families can use the website to discover “Explorations” that have been reviewed and approved by the Sarasota School District’s curriculum specialists in science, arts, and history, so they align with the school district curriculum. These “Explorations” are also optimized for instruction, including learning activities and post-conclusion reflections.
In late January 2015, a $1500 grant allowed Suncoast School for Innovative Studies the opportunity to bring Yuniko Yamamoto to campus for a two-day residency in “Origami Tales and Japanese Story Telling.” The exploration benefitted 264 students from pre-k to fifth grade, allowing them to connect geometry, language arts, and cultural studies through the art of origami. Other explorations include field trips and learning activities through providers such as the Circus Arts Conservatory, Sarasota Ballet, Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.