Apr 24, 2014 12:36 PM by PRESS RELEASE

Vermilionville Receives $30,000 NEA Grant

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced April 16th that the Vermilionville Living History Museum Foundation is one of 886 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. Vermilionville is recommended for a $30,000 grant to support "Local Learning @ Vermilionville".

NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, "The NEA is pleased to announce that Vermilionville is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation's artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape."

The program allows Vermilionville artisans and Acadiana Center for the Arts teaching artists to conduct classroom residencies throughout the school year. It highlights the importance of passing on traditions through generations, practicing interviewing skills, and creating a hands-on art project that culminates the students' experiences. The program will expand in year two by involving French immersion students, artisans, and artists. Vermilionville's Museum Operations Coordinator Jolie Johnson added, "We are very excited to continue this program for a second year. We gained valuable insights into classroom residencies and integration of the visual arts with folk arts. It has been a fulfilling experience to see students value their heritage and learn more about our region's cultures. Vermilionville's goal is for teachers to view our historic village as an extension of their classroom."

For more information about the grant monies or the education initiative, contact Jolie Johnson by calling (337) 233-4077 or e-mailing

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at

Vermilionville Teacher Institute & Local Learning Initiative

The Vermilionville Foundation will support a year-long partnership between the Vermilionville Living History Museum and Folklife Park with schools in Lafayette Parish. Together they will develop a network of educators and students engaged in using regional culture, history, language and folklife to
improve student learning and connect community with curriculum.

Because students study local and regional history in 3rd and 8th grades, Vermilionville staff will work with an elementary school and a middle school through an ongoing learning community to develop folklife integration approaches across the school curriculum. Because folklife is inherently interdisciplinary, teachers of Social Studies, English Language Arts, Science, Math, French and the arts
are invited to develop rich curricular connections with the site and its programming.

In the context of this project, Vermilionville is partnering with Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education to provide teachers with a two-day professional development workshop July 28-29,2014 at Vermilionville's Folklife Park. Participants will learn about folklife and how to use it as an engaging spring board to teach core curriculum. The workshop will be an exciting hands-on immersion experience with folklorists, master teachers, and local artists. Topics will include teaching the interview process, traditional crafts and music of the region, using folklife to address the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and easily accessible resources for the classroom. It is free for teachers to attend.

Following the summer training, participants will work in teams during the 2014-2015 school year to implement lessons that merge local resources and the CCSS. Those engaged in the project will receive a stipend, in-service credit, artist classroom residencies, multimedia resources, lesson plans and free admission to a variety of Vermilionville events. Their students' work will be displayed at Vermilionville in May 2015. Through their work in this project, teams will inform development of a model that will help Vermilionville to partner effectively with additional schools in coming years.

This initiative dovetails with an on-going project that pairs University of Louisiana education students with Lafayette Parish elementary and middle school students to develop and field test standards-based lessons and activities for the thousands of students from around the state who visit Vermilionville annually. The project will also tap into the extensive online education guide Louisiana Voices, produced by the Louisiana Folklife Program of the Division of Cultural Affairs.

The lead writer of Louisiana Voices, Paddy Bowman, will direct the summer workshop and collaborate with teachers and artists throughout the year. As Director of Local Learning, she worked locally to develop and guide a very successful folklife-integrated project from 2009 to 2012 called Local Learning in Lafayette, pairing folk artists, teaching artists and teachers for classroom residencies that introduced middle and high school students to folklife and interviewing.



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