Immersed in Experience: Working with Organizations as an AES Student

By Grace Vo, Arts Extension Service Student and Work-Study Employee

My experience with working with a case study was in my grant writing class with the Arts Extension Service. Working with a case study was an essential part of our class especially in a topic as specific as grant writing. The case study we worked with was ArteSana, a non-profit based in Holyoke, MA that offers opportunities for women affected by systemic inequalities. ArteSana trains and employs women to weave recycled textiles into new products in return for not only wages but also important skills such as personal growth and education. ArteSana also offers free community programming with its profits from its sales for workshops such as financial literacy and fiber arts.

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"Getting to meet the staff working with a local organization made my work more meaningful not only in successfully learning the technical process but I was also able to be apart and support an organization that is trying to make a beneficial difference for their community."

The main task of grant writing is to be able to successfully write grant proposals. When writing a proposal, the grant writer must be knowledgeable and supportive of the organization they are representing. They must reflect on why the grant will help the organization. For this part of grant writing, working with a local case study not only made the work feel more community based, but it also was very helpful in the learning process. Our class connected directly with the founder and executive director, Katy Moonan. She was an invaluable resource when we had questions about the organization, and helped make clear the intentions of their need for the grant. Our class was also able to visit the organization on a class trip, this helped enormously as it also gave us more information on the demographic, environment and point of view of the organization.

Katy Moonan, Founder and Executive Director of ArteSana, pictured right

Having a case study as a learning tool, I really immersed myself in the process of grant writing. Getting to meet the staff working with a local organization made my work more meaningful not only in successfully learning the technical process but I was also able to be apart and support an organization that is trying to make a beneficial difference for their community.

Grantwriting for the Arts, a course that uses case studies as a means for experiential learning, will be available online this summer.

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Grace Vo, AES Student

Photos courtesy of ArteSana.