The Fine Arts Booster Group (FABG), an affiliate of IPEI, has awarded $11,124 in special grants for Ithaca City School District (ICSD) programs that will reach 400 students annually. The special grants will support ongoing activity over multiple years and include microphones for use in Boynton Middle School’s McCalmon Theatre, new choral risers for DeWitt Middle School and Ithaca High School choir uniforms.

Co-President Alice Wu notes, “Our school district does a great job of supporting the arts, and some programs can also benefit from additional help. The Fine Arts Booster Group is glad to offer assistance in these areas. For example, FABG helped the expanding Sixth Grade Choir at DeWitt get risers needed for their classroom use. FABG is also glad to support the rapidly growing Ithaca High School Choir in obtaining much needed replacements for their 20 year old performance wear.” Co-President Vanessa Wagner adds, “Our Drama programs raise funds from their event ticket sales for sets, costumes, and other infrastructure, and FABG helped replace some of the Boynton microphones which had been used for several years. The Fine Arts Booster Group works in partnership with the school district to leverage funds and support experiences for all students.” Interim Fine Arts Director Steve Beamish states, “The grants that the FABG awards are an integral part of our financial infrastructure. These awards will not only assist and support our students in existing programs, but allow us to expand our curricular options and choices for our students. In addition to the grants cited, the FABG financially supports numerous individual, student-centered projects that enhance and extend the learning for all students in our music and art classes. They are truly a partner in executing an educational philosophy that engages all of our students in the arts.”

Grant funds are made possible through donations and Fine Arts Booster Group performance booklet ad sales. The boosters produce performance booklet programs for middle and high school concerts and plays, totaling over thirty events each year.

An affiliate of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI), the FABG works in partnership with the ICSD to advocate, support and celebrate all the arts for all the kids. The Fine Arts Boosters strive for increased student access and participation, and for equity in the arts programs. The boosters believe the arts – music, dance and visual, literary and theater arts – are a central part of every child’s public school education. Visit

IPEI is a not-for-profit organization that believes the education of every ICSD student is enhanced through community connections and support facilitated by IPEI for students and teachers through engagement, collaboration, gifts, and grants. Visit

Ongoing FABG initiatives include mini-grants to teachers, printing the performance booklets for ICSD secondary schools’ concerts and drama productions; fundraising; Play It Again, Ithaca (collection of used musical instruments and funds to purchase new instruments for use in the schools); and various advocacy efforts in support of arts in the schools.

FABG is open to all K-12 staff, parents/caregivers, students and community members and is concerned with all arts areas. Join the group and volunteer to work on goals – communication, advocacy, grant giving, fundraising, community connections, and instrument recycling.