Art program awarded third NEA grant


Pots n Prints, the mobile trailer that takes printmaking and ceramics to school districts throughout the Permian Basin, has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the third year.

Mario Kiran, associate professor of art and program coordinator for visual arts at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin applied for the funds and received $17,000.

Kiran said he was “very surprised” to be awarded the grant because there has been a lot of reporting about funding to the NEA being cut or the NEA being abolished. He added that he would like to see support from local companies for the trailer.

This being the third time that Kiran has been awarded the grant is unheard of and unprecedented.

Kiran and Associate Professor of Art Chris Stanley started the program in 2013. In 2013-14, Kiran said they worked with approximately 800 students.

“Then in 2015 through ’16, we worked with approximately 3,000 kids, so it has increased. The plan now is to have more engagement with the youth and children and also add a component where we will go to assisted living and work with them in the summer. We’ve never done that before, but we would like to try it out,” Kiran said.

He said some people living in assisted living may have arthritis or a physical disability, so the clay could help soothe them and they can glaze the ceramics that are created and have the pieces fired on site.

With the printmaking, Kiran said the residents could make their own designs and their designs could be printed for them.

Kiran said the idea for traveling to assisted living facilities came up when a grandmother dropped her grandson off and asked why there was nothing for people like her.

He said he also hopes to obtain an embroidery machine that people can use to embroider hats, for example. Kiran thought OK, “let’s give it a shot.”

“We might just try one or two during the summer. If it does work, the next time we put a grant together we will add more assisted living,” Kiran said.

Stanley said Pots n Prints has proven that the idea of taking art out to the area has been proven to work. The endeavor also has been written about in The Washington Post’s Sunday Magazine.

One of the issues with the trailer has been obtaining a truck. Stanley said this has been resolved by renting from U-Haul, but it’s not a long-term solution because it’s an added expense. Both Stanley and Kiran said if there is a kindhearted truck dealer in the area that could help Pots n Prints, it would be much appreciated.

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