Jaenike Grant funds community creativity 

Chrissy Miller, News Editor

The Ruth and Vaughn Jaenike Access to the Arts Fund allows students, community members and faculty to receive up to 50 percent of the funds needed to make their ideas for artistic activities and performances come to life.

Dan Crews, interim director of programming, publicity and promotions for Doudna Fine Arts Center, said the grant has been in place for nearly 20 years. It has helped multiple people share art in the form of musical performances, theatre and workshops each year.

“We give grants from a couple hundred dollars to $1,000,” Crews said. “It’s been very popular.”

The grant is named after Vaughn, a previous dean of the College of Fine Arts, and his wife, Ruth.

“The grant itself was a mechanism for people, not just the university, but people from the community and the surrounding area, from a lot of different communities to tap into funds that would help them present arts programming in their community,” Crews said.

The grant is offered once in the fall and once in the spring. For the fall semester, applications will be accepted until Oct. 13.

About six to eight projects receive funding through this grant each year, Crews said.

“It bridges the gap between the local communities and Charleston,” Crews said. “It makes people more aware there are things that are taking place here on campus.”

The grant is awarded after the applications are reviewed by a committee composed of the music, theatre and art chairs as well as the director of the Tarble Arts Center and himself, Crews said.

“We look at the ones that have the most merit, the ones that would be the most successful and the best written grants,” Crews said. “If it sounds like they have a surefire plan of how they’re going to pull off their event, we’ll like to help them.”

Performance studies professor Jean Wolski is able to do a Children’s Theatre tour with the grant.

During the tour, her class performs for the elementary schools each year. She said schools apply for the grant to help pay for the cost of bringing the tour show to their students.

“We also have had schools apply for the grant in order to bring their students to EIU to see productions here,” Wolski said.

Wolski said the goal of the tour is to bring the arts to underserved communities.

Earl Halbe, a Charleston resident who used the grant the past two summers to do theatre performances in the park, said without the grant, the performances he and his wife put on would not be possible.

“(The park) was sort of underutilized and we just thought the community might appreciate something going on down there at the band shell down there in Columbus Park,” Halbe said.

The grant brings arts to the community in a big way, Halbe said.

An example of this is this past summer, when nearly 500 people total attended the Shakespeare in the Park performance he put together.

Halbe said the access to the arts this grant provides is “not only for people in the community to come and see a show, but for people to actually perform, it scratches that itch.”

Completed application forms may be submitted to Dan Crews, Doudna Fine Arts Center, EIU, 600 Lincoln Ave., Charleston, IL 61920 or by email to [email protected].


Chrissy Miller can be reached at 581- 2812 or [email protected].