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October 17, 2013

Arts group gets grant for kids' programs

The Daily Star

---- — The Community Music and Arts Network’s Early Childhood Arts Enrichment program received $5,000 in a matching fund grant Monday.

The Community Arts Network of Oneonta, which sponsored the Community Music and Arts Network, announced the grant from the A. Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation to help subsidize program costs and bring area teaching artists to work with the children.

“We are so grateful for the continued support of the O’Connor Foundation,” said Director Pamela West-Finkle. Without their help and generous assistance, we would not be able to provide these types of programs.”

The O’Connor Foundation gave the Community Music and Arts Network its start-up grant in 2007 and has also funded several of the summer rock camps for teens and family music festivals that the Network has held.

The Community Music and Arts Network also has a crowd-funding campaign on to help raise funds for its 501c3 non-profit application to hire and train more teachers, and to raise additional funding to expand its outreach and intergenerational programming.

The organization provides after-school and summer rock camps, lessons and workshops, family music festivals, community music classes for disabled adults, intergenerational classes and early-childhood classes for families and preschools in the area.

This fall, the Early Childhood Arts Enrichment Preschool program began at the Hobart Activity Center — the location of the Network’s Center for Music and Creative Development and a building that has a long history of educating young children.

The program is run by founder/director West-Finkle and teachers Zulema DeGregory of Stamford and Suzanne DelValle of Oneonta and is based in Waldorf and Montessori philosophies. The program takes a “whole child” approach, utilizing music, art, dance, theater, storytelling and imaginative play to teach life skills and fundamental concepts.  It’s offered on a sliding fee scale depending on the number of days the child is enrolled.

Since October 2012, the residents at the Robynwood Assisted Living Center in Oneonta have had a weekly intergenerational class. The class has become a model that West-Finkle hopes to expand to other nursing homes and assisted living centers in the area in 2014. Some of the targeted locations for future programming include Stamford, Grand Gorge, Roxbury, Margaretville and Delhi, according to a news release.

The crowd-funding campaign ends Oct. 28. For more information on the Community Music and Arts Network, contact West-Finkle at 607-652-2330 or 607-441-8448, or by email at The website is