Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory has been approved for a Grants for Arts Projects award from the National Endowment for the Arts to support From Plant to Paper:
Papermaking in Cleveland Communities. Participants will learn the biology and care behind growing plant fiber for papermaking and gain an understanding of all steps of the process. This project focuses on sustainability and equipping participants with the tools and knowledge to continue papermaking in their endeavors. The Morgan Conservatory’s project is among 1,125 projects across America, totaling more than $26.6 million that were selected during this second round of Grants for Arts Projects fiscal year 2022 funding.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts and cultural organizations throughout the nation with these grants, including The Morgan Conservatory, providing opportunities for all of us to live artful lives,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, Ph.D. “The arts contribute to our individual well-being, communities' well-being, and local economies. The arts are also crucial to helping us make sense of our circumstances from different perspectives as we emerge from the pandemic and plan for a shared new normal informed by our examined experience.”
“The Morgan Conservatory is one of Cleveland's best-kept secrets yet is recognized nationally as a leader in the art of handmade paper and books. Support from the NEA increases our visibility and allows us to grow artist engagement in Cleveland communities. Support from the National Endowment for the Arts poses an exciting opportunity to The
Morgan Conservatory,” says Executive Director Leonard D. Young.
The Morgan Conservatory will be partnering with University Settlement to hold a series of
papermaking workshops for senior citizens and youth through their SMARTY’S program for 5th- 8th graders. The program’s journey starts with understanding different natural fibers from the Morgan’s urban fiber garden. The program continues with fiber preparation: harvesting, cooking, and beating fibers to create a fine pulp. The fiber will be turned into sheets of paper using specialized tools and eventually into handmade books.
The Morgan believes that hands-on educational opportunities provide significant
experiences for the participants. In addition to the artistic nature of creating paper and books, workshops share papermaking and book arts' scientific and historical context. The Morgan had a tradition of participating in arts festivals and hosting K-12 schools in various hands-on experiences. In 2017, the Morgan artistic staff developed sustained engagements with youth in the Central neighborhood surrounding the Morgan in a program entitled From Plant to Paper: Papermaking in Cleveland Communities.
As some of the poorest youth in Cuyahoga County, these children traditionally had the fewest opportunities for arts experiences. These workshops were enthusiastically received and proved to be catalysts for curiosity, joy, creative thinking, and expression. They provided the beginning foundation for growth and exploration into other artistic practices. This proposed project would expand these programs into an adjacent community through a partnership with University Settlement, a nonprofit that serves residents in the Slavic Village neighborhood. It would enhance their programming to youth through their SMARTY’S- Smart Young Significant program for 5th-8th graders. University Settlement also requested we create adjunct programming for the senior citizens they serve who utilize the settlement for food, shelter, and essential services but do not have access to the arts. The program would be led by the Morgan’s Community Arts Education Coordinator, Michaelle Marschall.
Papermaking is a process that pairs knowledge with physical activity. Acknowledging students’ physical capabilities and offering a final tactile product with trained educators and volunteers to assist with any struggles will benefit participants; self-esteem and reinforce personal accomplishments. The added focus on sustainability and equipping participants with the tools and knowledge to continue papermaking on their own promotes a sense of independence and a healthy social-emotional practice. Similarly, for seniors (62+), programs that include physical activity components in conjunction with artistic endeavors use a cognitive function that helps promote healthier lifestyles.
For more information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.