Stillwater News Press

July 7, 2013

Stillwater musician vies for classroom grant funds

By Chase Rheam
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — A Stillwater children’s musician has been selected as one of five artists who could receive a grant to continue in their educational and artistic efforts.

Monty Harper will take part in the Paseo Arts FEAST — Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics — on July 16 at Joey’s Pizzeria in Oklahoma City.

Attendees of the event will receive a meal and hear proposals from the artists. They will vote at the end of the evening, with proceeds of the dinner, minus expenses, being given as a grant to the winner.

Harper’s proposal is to use the funds for the purchase of recording equipment he would take into the classroom where he uses music and the written word to give children a hands-on experience in the creative process of songwriting. His recent work is possible because of a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council. One of the latest topics has been the new Stillwater recycling program.

“Making recordings of the songs is an important way to ensure that (the students’) efforts will connect with a wider community,” Harper said. “Right now, I do that for them at home. Being able to arrange and record with the kids during class will increase their exposure to different music-making skills, increase their feeling of ownership in the overall project and also increase my ability to receive Oklahoma Arts Council funding for what I do.”

This will be the fifth year of the Paseo FEAST event.

“I’ve never done this before,” Harper said. “This is totally unique for me. I have until next Wednesday, (which) is the rehearsal, so all the artists are invited to come rehearse their pitch and give feedback.”

Harper said he will sing part of a song, play a recording he has made and explain how the equipment would help students, who would benefit by being involved in the creative process.

“The kids, they have ideas they will tell me, but I always have to say that I’ll take it into account when I’m at home working on it,” he said.

Tickets to the event are $30. Previous grant amounts have ranged from $800 to $1,900 per event, according to the Paseo website.

“It would be awesome to see people show up and support,” Harper said. “A lot of kids and families have benefited from my time in school and I think in the future, if I can get the recording equipment, they can have a better experience.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.thepaseo.com or call 405-525-2688.