HARVARD -- The Hildreth Elementary School Curriculum Enrichment Committee has been awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, through its STARS Residencies program.

The grant will partly fund a 10-day artist-in-residence program called Weaving Together: Threads and Voices, with visual artist Sarah Haskell.

Haskell, presented by Young Audiences of Massachusetts, will be working with HES art teacher Cindy Harris and HES students in grades 2, 3 and 4 to create woven mandalas which will portray and incorporate the cultures of the students, Harvard and Massachusetts.

State Rep. Jennifer Benson said, "This program is a great opportunity for Harvard. Helping communities integrate art into their local school curriculum is one way the Massachusetts Cultural Council positively impacts communities. I am happy to continue to support the MCC and their work to bring the arts into communities."

In addition to the grant, the program is being funded by the Harvard Schools Parent Teacher Organization and the Harvard Schools Trust, with support also being provided by the Hilton Garden Inn in Devens, which will provide housing for Haskell during the residency.

"We are fortunate to have the great opportunity for our students. It will bring a new creative aspect to our arts program for grades 2, 3 and 4, reinforce our 'Steps to Respect' program, and enhance cultural awareness for all our students. It is great to see the greater Harvard community come together to support the program and, of course, the MCC grant is so important and appreciated," explained Dr. Linda Dwight, Hildreth Elementary School principal.

As a state organization, the MCC runs a competitive process for it STARS Residency grants. This grant award signifies that the program put together by the HES Curriculum Enrichment Committee provides a high level of public value through arts awareness, arts education and cultural connections. This grant will impact the entire HES community upon its completion.

The MCC has a budget of $11.2 million, including an appropriation of $9.5 million from the state of Massachusetts and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. Its funds reach every community in Massachusetts. The mission of the MCC is to promote excellence, education, access and diversity in the arts, humanities and sciences in order to improve the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents and to contribute to the economic vitality of our communities. The nonprofit cultural industry has a $4.2 billion economic impact in the state.