The Venable Foundation supports a wide range of civic, cultural, and charitable endeavors providing deep and meaningful engagement with accessible programs to individuals of all ages. Guided by the belief that everyone has the right to equitable opportunities and a vibrant cultural community, one of our major funding priority areas is arts and culture. In this issue we take a look at how the Foundation supports a range of diverse arts initiatives that promote deeper public engagement and build up the creative economy, with an emphasis on low-income and underserved communities.
Spotlight: Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP)
Transitioning to civilian life after military service is often a difficult and isolating experience. Venable Foundation grantee Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP) seeks to change that for DC-area veterans by cultivating community and growth through the arts. ASAP provides free classes and workshops that train and engage veterans across a wide variety of art forms, including standup comedy, storytelling, improvisation, creative writing, acting, and painting, among others. ASAP also produces performances for veterans, service members, military family members, and caregivers.
From social isolation and traumatic brain injuries to post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues, veterans and military families face many challenges unique to them. The arts have an impact that directly addresses many of these difficulties veterans face in their post-military life.
In addition to tangible research demonstrating improvements in resilience, confidence, skill development, and self-discovery, ASAP participants also reported feeling less anxious and that they could connect more easily with others. Less than 1% of the American population serves in the armed forces, which results in a disconnect between the civilian and military worlds.
"When a civilian comes to a standup comedy show with ASAP or a storytelling showcase, they get to peek behind the curtain and understand more about that life," said Brian Jenkins, executive director of ASAP. "Knowing we have Venable as a reliable, recurring partner gives us the confidence to plan for another year of serving more veterans in the DC community."
Funding from the Venable Foundation enabled more than 250 veterans to graduate from ASAP classes in the DC area in the last year and share their art form in performances throughout the community.
To hear directly from veterans about the impact ASAP has had on their lives, visit their YouTube page. For more information about how to donate, click here.
Additional Impact Grants Around the Country
Art with a Heart
Art with a Heart, Inc. provides visual arts classes to under-resourced Baltimore-area youth and adults in schools, group homes, shelters, community centers, recreation centers, senior facilities, and hospitals. All programs are a combination of art, human services, and education, working to provide equitable access to arts education and enrichment.
Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education
Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE) works closely with underserved schools and teachers to create a series of workshops that weave the arts into more traditional subject matter. The approach has helped increase students' academic success, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity through research-based, arts-driven education.
Harmony Project removes barriers to music instruction for underserved students in Los Angeles. In addition to providing each student with an instrument and weekly, year-round music instruction at no cost, the organization also offers access to year-round counseling, social support, and college success programs from kindergarten through college.
The Public Theater
The Public Theater's Public Works program aims to restore and build community by connecting people through the creation of extraordinary works of art. Working with partner organizations in the five boroughs of New York City, Public Works invites community members to take classes, participate in programming, attend performances, and join in the creation of ambitious works of participatory theater.
Visit Venable.com/Foundation to learn more about our funding priorities and application process.