Unveiling of moose kicks off grant program fund-raiser

Unveiling of moose kicks off grant program fund-raiser

M.D. Kincaid Correspondent

Next Friday the odds of encountering a moose in Coeur d’Alene increase greatly.

This is not for hunters desperate to bag a trophy, but a chance for citizens to support “No Moose left Behind,” a creative project to benefit students in our community.

The nonprofit EXCEL Foundation will host “Meet the Moose” evening, complete with Jazz music by Nick Schilling and Tom Kuntz, wine and hors d’oeuvres and an unveiling of the moose. The event runs from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Art Spirit Gallery at 415 Sherman Ave. in downtown Coeur d’ Alene.

Artist Byron Ross’ bronze sculpture will be used to “clone” multiple life-size fiberglass moose. The No Moose Left Behind art committee will choose Northwest artists to paint and embellish the critters.

“We expect the moose to be gorgeous while representing all the artistic mediums. Some may be avant-garde, some whimsical, whatever the artist brings out,” says project chairman Lonne Jordahl.

Artists receive a stipend (around $600 says Jordahl), adding that some have offered to donate their services. The panel will choose one artist to create 20 to 40 ornate miniatures of the moose. Interested artists should contact artist committee co-chairman Mike Dodge at 667- 3350. Deadline for artists’ applications is Nov. 15.

Sponsors contribute $3,000 each toward the life-size fiberglass moose (as many as 24 will be built), displayed at locations of their choice throughout next spring and summer. Other sponsorship programs include the Trophy Moose for $1,000 and Friend of the Moose for $500.

After the initial display at sponsoring businesses, the moose will be herded into one location, allowing public viewing and photo opportunities. The project culminates with an auction in September, where the moose – both full-size and miniatures – are sold. One hundred percent of all funds raised go directly to the grant program, says Jordahl.

The fund-raiser name is loosely based on the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. When the Act was signed by President Bush, he stated, “too many of our neediest children are being left behind.” The funds raised will finance a grant program for Coeur d’ Alene School District students.

“Enrollment is growing, the city is growing, and this is a great way for the community to participate. This goes a long way to benefit our students,” Jordahl says. He explains that schools especially need help this year, as budget cuts created an education funding shortage, which in turn created a greater demand for grants. Forty grant requests have already been made to EXCEL this year, up from the 20 grant requests made for all of last year.

EXCEL (Extras to Create Excellence in Learning) awarded 437 grants totaling $519,164.19 since parents of District 271 students created the foundation 18 years ago. The No Moose left Behind project is designed to “raise the public’s awareness and appreciation of accessible art and to generate funds to increase the Foundation’s fund,” according to EXCEL’S web page.

In similar Montana education fund-raising projects, Billings made over $450,000 with their Horse of Course and Kalispell netted almost $200,000. Jordahl hopes to raise $100,000 to $200,000. In addition to helping students and teachers, he predicts the moose will draw tourists, benefiting the city of Coeur d’ Alene and local businesses.

This sidebar appeared with the story:

Fast facts

What: Unveiling of moose sculpture and kick off of “No Moose Left Behind” educational fund-raiser with wine, food and music.

Where: Art Spirit Gallery, 415 Sherman Ave., Coeur d’ Alene.

When: Friday, November 7, 4 pm to 7 pm.

Why: Fun and great cause.

Cost: Free.

More information: Lonne Jordahl (208) 664-2325. Web site: http:/ / www.excelfoundation.org

Copyright 2003 Cowles Publishing Company

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.