Picture of the OPA Foundation donating check to ASPIRE program

Okaloosa Public Arts Foundation Supports ASPIRE Program in Area Schools

The Okaloosa Public Arts Foundation recently donated $3000 to the Okaloosa County Schools ASPIRE (After School Program In Reaching Excellence) program for the purchase of art supplies for their after school programs.

This generous donation will allow the schools participating in the ASPIRE 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant (Baker, Edwins, Elliot Point, Wright Elementary schools) to buy art supplies to enhance their after school art education.

“We want to thank the Okaloosa Public Arts program so much for their generous donation,” said Dr. Sandra Arteaga, the ASPIRE program director.  “With this donation, they will help hundreds of children actively increase their art skills.  In a time of reduced budgets for art programs, this donation will make an immediate impact for these students.”

According to Bernadette Sims, President of OPA, "Many people feel that art is an integral part of the development of the personality and intelligence of a child.  Art can influence and how we interact with society and how we see the world around us.  OPA is proud to be instrumental in helping bring the beauty of art into lives."

“The Okaloosa School District thanks the Okaloosa Public Arts for this donation,” said Superintendent Mary Beth Jackson. “It is only through community involvement that these students have these opportunities to grow all facets of their education, and this is a large part of the future success for these children.”

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About the Title IV - 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant (ASPIRE)

Okaloosa County Schools have received a 21st Century Community Learning Grant for the 2016-2017 School Year.   This is a five year grant.  The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative is a key component of the No Child Left Behind Act. Authorized under Title IV, Part B, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the specific purposes of the federal law are to:

Provide opportunities for academic enrichment, including providing tutorial services to help students, particularly students who attend low-performing schools, to meet state and local student academic achievement standards in core academic subjects, such as reading and mathematics.

Offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, art, music, and recreation programs, technology education programs and character education programs, that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students.

Offer families of students served by community learning centers opportunities for literacy and related educational development.

Visit the 21st CCLC ASPIRE program webpage for more information. 

About the Okaloosa Public Arts Foundation

The Okaloosa Public Arts (OPA) Foundation is a non-profit organization devoted to creating and displaying art for public places.  The first project of OPA was placing a permanent collection of Okaloosa County artists' work in the new Okaloosa County Courthouse Extension when it was opened in Fort Walton Beach.  A permanent mural, created by member Elia Saxer, was painted and can be seen in the entrance hall of the building,  a metal sculpture created by Richard Arum was purchased and placed on display in the front of the building and the Statue of Blind Justice prominently displayed in the front entrance hall of the building was purchased and placed there by OPA.

The most recent project of the group is producing the annual display of new artwork by Okaloosa County artists on all three floors of the Okaloosa County Administrative Building in Shalimar.  Two murals created by artist Elia Saxer were also created for the entrance hall of the building.

The next project to be developed by Okaloosa Public Arts will be the purchase of Sea Life Statues to be placed in downtown Fort Walton Beach and other locations to be determined.