Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.



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January 23, 2017

Getting Money for your Program: Grant writing and more

From: Reta Rickmers

I wrote my first grant many years ago with the help of our district grant writer. Grant writing has its own language and once you learn it you are good to go. Much of it involves using the rubrics the grant uses to decide who is qualified, so I suggest you start there. It will have language embedded in it you will want to use.

My first grant was the biggest one I have received. It was the California Department of Education Secondary Specialized Program Grant. Writing and receiving this grant inspired and made possible my Art Studio @ PV program. 

The grant expired after 6 years and about $420,000.


For one year I had no funding, so we raised money on to buy our big 11x14 sketchbooks and through selling car raffle tickets with our local Sports Boosters to go on our field trip to San Francisco. 


Historically, our sports booster only raised money for sports but I asked if maybe art students could be involved and they said sure! We still make money for our program every year by participating in that. This year we used it to raise money to have our two art show receptions catered.

For several years I received grants from our local university that focused on professional development.  These grants required that I collaborated with other teachers. I love collaborating as I get so many new ideas! They also enabled me to attend the NAEA National Conventions. My experiences there always enrich my teaching and take it to a higher level. I encourage you to attend!

For the last few years and currently I am receiving a California Teachers Association/Institute for Teaching Grant which focuses on Strength-Based Teaching. I wasn’t familiar specifically with this teaching concept but it fit perfectly with my approach to teaching.

Below is the description our grant for this year.


Educator Grant - $5,000.00

In ARTreprenuers, art student participants at Pleasant Valley High School will form teams with classmates to design and pitch workable, salable, and scalable business ideas. Students will get a figurative peek inside the brains of real entrepreneurs. Students will present their ideas to an Entre-board (an advisory board of local entrepreneurs) and then make and sell the selected products at a variety of venues. The focus will be on creativity, teamwork, problem solving, marketing, and community connections. The Art Teacher and Teacher-Librarian will support students to become responsible and reliable individuals that use their strengths as a bridge to their future and a possible career.

This is fairly new to me as a teacher but I am a working artist so I wanted my students to learn about making money through creative efforts. So far this year we have had a jewelry artist come into class to teach the students to make earrings and bracelets. Now the students are in teams and are researching different artistic products they could make, market, and sell.

Photo 1 blog4

We also have a local Art Booster group called Arts For All. If you don’t have one, I suggest you help to start one. This group gives mini-grants in the amount of up to $250 each semester. It has helped funds many projects for me such as Pastels in the Quad which encourages all students on campus to create works of public sidewalk art.

Photo#2 blog 4

This is my last Monthly Mentor blog. I’ve really enjoyed taking time out of my busy life to write a little a bit about what I do as I teacher. Thanks for reading!



Lori Stevens

Reading along your blog journey has been fun! Keep writing!!

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