Smith Opera House Gets Busing Grant

A recent grant from the Delavan Foundation to the Smith Opera House will help area students attend theatrical performances during the school day next year at the historic venue.At a time when many school administrations are forced to limit or eliminate field trips due to rising transportation costs, The Smith applied for and received $5,000 to be used toward busing subsidies to school districts throughout the Finger Lakes region. Subsidies may be used for all shows in The Smith’s “ArtSmart Theatre for Young People 2007/2008 Season.” Districts may apply for up to three $100 subsidies per show. There are ten busing subsidies per show that will be distributed on a first come-first served basis. While much of the cost of $4.50 ticket to an “ArtSmart” event is reimbursable to the school through local Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) agencies, busing the students to the venue is not.”We are so grateful to The Delavan Foundation for supporting our work this way,” noted Smith Executive Director Kevin Schoonover. “We are extremely aware of the fiscal realities facing schools these days. And we are very excited to be able to offer such a unique benefit, especially to those districts whose students might not otherwise be able to attend programs such as ours.”The Smith annually contracts professional theatre companies from around the world to present work targeted to children from pre-K through high school. From storybook adaptations to original productions, “ArtSmart” has been a successful program for nearly two decades. Performances often sell-out and thousands of children in Ontario, Seneca, Yates, Cayuga, Wayne, and Monroe counties have had their first exposure to quality, live theatre in a fully-restored, historic performing arts venue — the Smith Opera House.Since its inception two years ago, the bus subsidy program has been an enormous success with all grant monies distributed — to many districts that hadn’t attended Smith programs in years. By offering each participating school district funds for transporting children to Smith Opera House school time events, the Delavan Foundation helps guarantee that tomorrow’s audiences continue to be exposed to the best in live theatre.The administrative costs of the program are built into the theatre’s regular operating budget — all grant dollars are used strictly to transport children to and from the venue.The new “ArtSmart” season will be announced in June. Interested educators and administrators should contact The Smith at 315-781-LIVE (5483) or toll-free 866-355-LIVE (5483) weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., to receive an “ArtSmart” schedule of events when it becomes available.The Smith Opera House is located at 82 Seneca Street in Geneva. The Smith is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the City of Geneva, the Town of Geneva and by contributions from individual members. The “ArtSmart Theatre for Young People” series is also supported by the Lyons National Bank.

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