Saturday, December 15, 2012

Smiles for Sandy Hook Elementary: A Minnesota Children's Art Project

The Children’s Book Illustrators Guild of Minnesota (CBIG) with assistance from the Bloomington Theatre and Arts CenterWet Paint and Richeson Art is hosting an event on Saturday, December 22nd, 2012 designed to bring smiles to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
“Smiles for Sandy Hook Elementary: A Minnesota Children’s Art Project” will bring Minnesota children and their families together at the Bloomington Theatre and Arts Center to create small, one-of-a-kind pieces of art which will be given to Sandy Hook Elementary in hopes of bringing a bright, happy light back to the halls of the school.
The event, which will take place from 10am to 2pm on December 22nd, 2012 is an open-door event, prepared to handle hundreds of children and their families as they visit the art center, make unique works of art and create smiles for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary.
For more information, visit .
For volunteer and donation information,
please contact me (Scott Spinks) at or by calling me at (651)247-0359
Art supplies have been donated by Wet Paint & Richeson Art.
The location has been donated by the Bloomington Theatre & Arts Center.
The following donations are still needed:
Time and Energy
Drinking water and snack for volunteers
Photography (We need two photographers to cover the event)
Shipping (to ship the finished at to Connecticut)
Signage to direct participants to the location
Printing for flyers
Name tags for volunteers
Cash donations will be taken at the door on the day of the event.
Connect with the event on FACEBOOK: Smiles4SandyHook

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

National Endowment for the Arts Grant excitement

Well, here is the amazing news I have been waiting to tell.  I am honored to be apart of another National Endowment for the Arts Grant!  That makes 2 NEA grants that i will be working on in 2013.  Couldn't be more honored and excited.  I especially would like to thank Lise Erdrich for helping make this happen and am looking forward to working with all the kids at Circle of Nations school back in my hometown of Wahpeton, ND!

SO here is the press release

[ON OR AFTER] December 4, 2012


WAHPETON, ND— National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced today that Circle of Nations School is one of 153 not-for-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America Fast-Track grant.  Circle of Nations School is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support a two-week artist residency and production costs for a student picture book project in Laura Youngbird’s art class. A mural project is planned as well.

In this FY 2013 funding round, the NEA received 393 eligible Challenge America Fast-Track applications, requesting a total of $3,930,000.  The NEA will award 153 Challenge America Fast-Track grants totaling $1.53 million awarded to organizations in 41 states, Washington, DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These include 49 first-time Arts Endowment grantees. The Challenge America Fast-Track category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability.

"Shawn McCann is a Twin Cities-based illustrator who grew up in Wahpeton. He is a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and has worked on children's books, product illustration, street painting, murals, and fine art,” stated Lise Erdrich, arts advocate at CNS. “He is known for his giant 3D murals.”

Said McCann, “Illustrating children’s books is one of the great things I love about being an artist. Being able to create a rich environment of color and texture that engages kids is the driving force behind my work. For there is nothing better than opening up an entirely new world each and every time a child opens a book.” 
Some of the titles Shawn has illustrated include The Sick Bug, The Sick Bug Goes to School, Gregory's Paper Airplane, The Path to Forgiveness, Staarabu was Wise, Anana was Gentle and many others. Some awards that these books have won include the Silver Moonbeam Award, two Gold Mom’s Choice Awards, a Silver Nautilus, Next Generation Indie Book Award, Silver MIPA award and others. Shawn has also appeared the last two years as a featured illustrator at the LA Times Festival of Books.
"The NEA was founded on the principle that the arts belong to all the people of the United States," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "We're proud that Challenge America Fast-Track grants bring more opportunities for arts engagement to underserved communities." Chairman Landesman visited Wahpeton in December 2008 and was so impressed that he wrote about it his NEA blog, calling the Red Door Gallery and local arts effort “creative place-making at its finest.”

See the complete listing of projects recommended for Challenge America Fast-Track grant support at

Established in 1904, Circle of Nations School is an off-reservation intertribal boarding school serving 200 children annually, grades 4-8, according to ND instructional standards. One if its most distinguished alumni and longtime employees is Woodrow Wilson Keeble, posthumously honored in 2008 with the Congressional Medal of Honor and North Dakota’s Roughrider Award. 

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