The Right Brain Initiative


NEA funding for professional development!

May 20th, 2011 by Right Brain Team


Right Brain’s professional development program helps classroom teachers and teaching artists (like Maranee Sanders, pictured here working with 3rd graders at Spring Mountain Elementary in Happy Valley) build their ability to integrate the arts with other core subjects. (Photo: Miri Stebivka)

In other national news, this week we announced that the  National Endowment for the Arts has awarded us a $25,000 grant awarded in support of our professional development programming for teachers and teaching artists. This would be big news in any event, but here it’s particularly salient, as it’s our first grant from a federal fund of any kind.

According to the announcement we received from the NEA, “These matching grants help support projects that involve the creation and presentation of artistically excellent work – both new and established.  This round of grants awards more than 225 grants and over $7.3 million in arts education funding as part of the Arts Endowment’s Learning in the Arts funding stream.”

Of course, we’re wildly proud of our professional development (PD) program (see more posts about PD here), which we provide for our roster artists and staff at our partner schools each year under leadership of our professional development partner Deborah Brzoska. But still, we’re thrilled that we meet the NEA’s competitive criteria.

The NEA’s announcement also stated that: “Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts generate, on average, six dollars from non-federal sources for each dollar awarded.” In our case,  about half of our program’s current funding comes from local government agencies including the City of Portland, Clackamas County, Multnomah County, the Oregon Arts Commission, and each participating school district. Of course, the City of Portland remains our “most enthusiastic” supporter, as Mayor Adams describes it in the press announcement released about this grant. The other 49% of the pie comes from private sources, including corporations, private foundations and individuals.

We’ll also mention, enthusiastially, that we received this grant not only in support of the PD we provide for participants of our program during the school year, but also for our annual three-day summer seminar Imagine This! A Seminar on Bringing Creativity to Classrooms. This summit is open to educators of all types who want practical and creative arts education tools they can incorporate into the classroom. This year, our seminar runs from June 20-22, and includes a vast array of workshops, studio sessions and presentations by by local and national arts education leaders.

Read more and register for Imagine This! 2011 here.

Attendees of Imagine This! 2010 work with Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf to examine student artwork and writing for evidence of learning.


Read the full press release on, which includes a response from Sam Adams, Mayor of Portland.
Read a quick plug on The Oregonian online.
See the full list of NEA grantees in the state of Oregon.

Read session descriptions and register for Imagine This! here. Deadline is June 15.


Right Brain Team