BISMARCK, N.D., Aug. 6, 2008 – The Qwest Foundation today helped paint a picture for educational success with a $7,500 grant to the Dakota West Art Council's (DWAC) Art Venture program. Art Venture illustrates a new world of creativity and expression to pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade children who are economically disadvantaged and often face physical and mental disabilities.

 Through Art Venture, teaching artists design and instruct arts-oriented lessons in visual arts, creative movement, theater and music to enable children to express their creative voices—at their own levels and without prejudice. The program is free to children and their families, and the Qwest Foundation grant will help fund tools and programming for the coming school year.

"Art Venture sculpts young minds to experience art and encourages new methods of expression, many of which these children have not yet had the opportunity to experience. Qwest is honored to partner with this incredible cause," said Scott Macintosh, Qwest North Dakota president.

Now in its 10th year, Art Venture reaches underserved, at-risk youth through the Bismarck Early Childhood Education Program (BECEP) and at after-school sites in Bismarck and Mandan. During the 2007-2008 school year Art Venture served more than 600 children, and expanded the program to include participants from Apple Creek Country School and Head Start classes at BECEP.

"Arts education draws on the creativity and imagination all children are born with, and enhances those natural talents with an appreciation for art and art history, cultural diversity and other educational components," said DWAC Executive Director Linda Olsrud. "When we weave those elements together for disadvantaged children, the results are truly works of art."  


Art Venture's success comes from teachers and counselors who recognize creativity as a valuable means of expression and communication, especially for children with disabilities and children whose families face economic challenges.

This is the second year the Qwest Foundation has supported DWAC; in 2007, the Foundation awarded the Council with $4,500.


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About the Qwest Foundation


The Qwest Foundation's core principle is that investing in people and communities provides lasting value for the future. The Qwest Foundation awards grants to community-based programs that generate high-impact and measurable results, focusing on pre-K through grade 12 education.




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