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7 OCTOBER 2009.  At the October 6th, 2009, meeting of the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education, ARTsmart presented checks totaling $41,647 to SFPS Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez. The checks, combined with $45,186 already donated to arts programs and materials for Santa Fe schoolchildren, bring ARTsmart’s 2009 donation to $86,833.  “Thank you for keeping the arts alive and vibrant, and for making it possible for students to express themselves,” Gutierrez said.

ARTsmart Board President Connie Axton thanked SFPS Arts Coordinator Amy Summa for working with ARTsmart. “We all recognize that art programs build confidence, instill problem-solving skills and help students understand the relationship of detail and nuance to the big picture,” Axton said. “Art communicates unfettered by language barriers, stimulates the intellect, excites the emotions and expands aesthetic appreciation. Art helps students chart and direct their futures.”

Axton also recognized the many members of the business community that make the annual ARTfeast fundraiser a success, including gallery owners, artists, restaurants, chefs, media, lodgers, and other local businesses. She pointed out that the monies donated include funds set aside for general and scholarship endowments, $3,500 donated to Fine Art for Children and Teens, and individual checks to high school artists whose artwork sold during the February 2009 event.  Since its inception in 1995, community involvement has allowed ARTsmart to donate just under $750,000 to SFPS art projects and materials.

Teachers Thank YouTeachers Thank YouAmy Summa noted that ARTsmart helps art teachers develop creative, in-depth art projects often with the assistance of artists from various cultures who are brought into the classroom.  “ARTsmart is a creative bridge between Santa Fe’s rich arts community and young, budding students. We are so grateful for all ARTsmart has done for us.”

SFPS Board Secretary Mary Ellen Gonzales recognized that ARTsmart’s work, while focused on the annual February weekend event, is “a year-round job. It’s a lot of work,” she said.  “ARTsmart enriches the lives of our children, making them more creative.  ARTsmart’s work speaks well for the whole planet.”

SFPS Board Vice President Richard Polese acknowledged the business community that partners with ARTsmart, stating, “You set a sterling example of what ‘community schools’ really means.”

SFPS Board Member Frank Montano noted that ARTsmart is a critical resource, especially during lean funding years such as the present. “We need to do a better job of asking for contributions like those from ARTsmart—other organizations would probably follow in your footsteps.”

Two SFPS high school students were in attendance, Penuel Bickley and Nancy Martinez. Both cited art programs as important aspects of their education. “Most of the day I work with pencil and paper, but getting my hands dirty and creating something visual and tangible is so exciting and expansive,” Bickley said of her class in making pottery.