Fellowship Square Historic Mesa Receives Lifelong Arts Engagement Grant from The Arizona Commission on the Arts


Fellowship Square Historic Mesa’s own Activity Coordinator Laura K. Ontiveros, CNP recently received the exciting news that the campus has been awarded the Lifelong Arts Engagement Grant from The Arizona Commission on the Arts. The funds will be used to offer residents a one-of-a-kind art and education program.

Over the course of 14 weeks, residents will participate in this unique program that was co-developed by Laura and Anne Basham, teaching artist with the Museum House Project and the Arizona State University Natural History Collections (ASU NHC). Titled “Collecting Memories: Connecting long-term residents with natural history via collecting and macro photography,” the sessions will include multiple levels of engagement integrating art and science – including the life cycle of a butterfly, complete with a butterfly release after the emergence stage.

The approval for this grant comes with a lesson on perseverance. Laura had previously applied for a grant and was unfortunately denied. However, Laura didn’t give up! Knowing how important art is to the residents of Fellowship Square Historic Mesa (art is among the most popular activity here), Laura meticulously went through the detailed steps to submit the application again. When she received the news that their campus had received the grant, she said she was in shock! “I was honestly so surprised because I knew how many other applicants there were,” says Laura, adding that the announcement came on the heels of a very long, difficult and emotional day, which often comes with this type of selfless work. “This grant opens up a whole new world in terms of what we can offer our residents,” she says. And this is just the beginning… “We are so excited to do something that has never been done before — partnering with a university to bring our senior residents an art program of this caliber — and this is just a stepping stone to what we can expose them to in the future.”

All residents will be able to participate in the program at some level, and activities can be adapted to challenge more-able residents. Along with being part of nurturing the butterflies through their life cycle, the residents will also catalog the process through macro photography. Their results will become part of a traveling exhibit that will ultimately be displayed at ASU. At the culmination of the project, Fellowship Square residents will take a field trip to the university to see their own works on display. 

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