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APSU'S Goldsmith Press receives grants to work with at-risk children

It all started with the desire to help at-risk children and instill a little creativity into their lives. As Cindy Marsh, Austin Peay State University professor of art, worked diligently to secure grant money, she never dreamed her idea would be executed fully.

In June 2004, Marsh applied for a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). The grant was funded fully.

The grant proposed to work with 12-15-year-olds to develop a creative writing, design and letterpress printing after-school program for at-risk children. The project is known as Listen-Up! It all started with the desire to help at-risk children and instill a little creativity into their lives. As Cindy Marsh, Austin Peay State University professor of art, worked diligently to secure grant money, she never dreamed her idea would be executed fully.

In June 2004, Marsh applied for a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). The grant was funded fully.

The grant proposed to work with 12-15-year-olds to develop a creative writing, design and letterpress printing after-school program for at-risk children. The project is known as “Listen-Up!”

“The kids write and print autobiographical T-shirts on the letterpress,” says Marsh. “The project includes a series of advanced workshops to give a select group of creative children a chance to write spoken-word poetry, and design more elaborate posters and T-shirts for a large community exhibition.”

In addition, Marsh applied for a $3,500 grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC). APSU's Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts provided matching funds, bringing the total funding to $7,000.

Originally, Marsh intended to apply for the TAC grant to help with costs of “Listen-Up!” She later was informed that TAC dollars could not fund the same grant NEA dollars were funding.

Marsh says, “Therefore, I decided to create a new program, titled ‘WASSUP?' with TAC money, which would do the preliminary legwork for ‘Listen-Up!'”

Marsh proposed to complete 10 T-shirt workshops and produce an exhibition and performance of the autobiographical writings.

“We have completed six, successful workshops and have printed more than 100 different T-shirts on the letterpress. Each workshop consists of four days of activities and a lot of prep, so the time commitment from myself and the APSU student workshop leaders has been extraordinary.”

Four additional workshops need to be completed, and Marsh is working with the Montgomery County Parks and Recreation to link the workshops with its summer art programs.

“We have an incredible group of APSU art and creative writing students plus alumni who have worked side by side with me on these projects,” says Marsh.

“The logistics of this projectthe marketing, meetings with school and public administrators, organizing and figuring out how to pay the APSU student crewhas been an overwhelming, but rewarding endeavor for all involved.”

Marsh plans to organize a public presentation of the work produced by both grants in September 2006.

For more information, contact Marsh by telephone at (931) 221-7349. — Crissy Laubach-Young