Ellen and Marc Fultz

Ellen and Marc Fultz established the Performing Arts Series Arts in Education Fund at Ohio University to provide opportunities for regional K-12 students to attend performances by visiting artists.

Photographer: Sarah Barclay

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OHIO benefactors establish arts program for regional K-12 students

Athenians Marc and Ellen Fultz met while studying music at the Chautauqua Institution, a not-for-profit community in New York that hosts a unique mix of fine and performing arts each summer. Their shared passion for the arts moved them to establish a new fund at Ohio University that aims to expose K-12 children to the performing arts.  

The Performing Arts Series Arts in Education Fund supports Ohio University’s efforts to provide opportunities for regional K-12 students to attend performances by artists visiting OHIO. The fund addresses the Fultz’s concerns about the current state of art programs in Ohio schools, specifically in the Appalachian region.

As standardized testing becomes more prevalent in schools around the country, arts programs are being continually slashed to make room in school budgets for preparing students for the test, said Ellen Fultz, OHIO’s executive director of development, scholarships and special projects.

“We recognize that in today’s budgetary times, things have to be cut,” Ellen said. “But if giving schools a financial incentive through the fund means these kids have a chance to see a cool dance performance or to listen to someone play the violin for the first time, that’s enough.”

Fultz is confident that visiting performing artists can take pride in knowing that their talents are bringing joy and enlightenment to area children.

“Their audiences will be school children who otherwise might not get the chance to experience arts and music,” Ellen Fultz said.

After living in Athens for 28 years, the Fultzes understand the impact OHIO has on the surrounding area.

“We’ve benefitted so much from living in this area,” Ellen Fultz said. “We would like school children in the area to benefit as well from all that the university has to offer.”

In December, 2013, more than 1,000 regional K-12 students enjoyed a performance by Project Trio, a flute, cello and double bass ensemble, said Drew Holzaepfel, senior associate director for the Campus Involvement Center and the program’s director.

“This new fund will allow us to expand our outreach and to further our mission to serve the greater Southeast Ohio region.” he said.

Ellen Fultz hopes the gift she and Marc made inspires others to give.

 “Our hope is that other donors will contribute to this fund so that the program can expand, allowing an ever greater number of children to experience the arts,” she said. 

The Fultz’s gift is a part of Ohio University's The Promise Lives Campaign, which seeks to raise $450 million by June 30, 2015, and already has secured more than $441 million toward its goal in support of students, faculty, programs, partnerships and select facilities at Ohio University. Learn more at www.ohio.edu/campaign.