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Santa Fe’s Wise Fool gets grant from Cirque du Soleil

A scene from Wise Fool’s 2017 CircAspire show. The group was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from Cirque du Soileil. (EDDIE MOORE/JOURNAL)

SANTA FE – Santa Fe circus arts nonprofit Wise Fool is one of three U.S. organizations selected for a $10,000 grant from Cirque du Soleil.

Cirque du Soleil, based in Montreal, is internationally famous for its long-running circus productions staged in Las Vegas, Nev., and on tour.

The grant program, now in its second year, is managed through Cirque du Monde, Cirque du Soleil’s social outreach division. The other U.S. organizations awarded earlier this month were the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vt., and The Circus Project in Portland, Ore. Three groups were also selected in Canada.

Wise Fool artistic director Amy Christian said she’s proud of the recognition, commending how Cirque du Monde is providing ways for community organizations to build themselves up. She said the funding will go toward building Wise Fool’s capacity to support its youth programming to teach circus skills.

According to Christian, Wise Fool’s school programs have grown in the last several years, from a small handful of locations to now regular visits to about 13 schools in the Santa Fe region, including local public schools as well as the Santa Fe Indian School, New Mexico School for the Deaf and the Pojoaque Wellness Center.

As the troupe reaches more kids, particularly in more low-income areas, Christian said, the need to fund scholarships for students to attend programs at Wise Fool’s studios also grows.

The $10,000 will go toward developing Wise Fool’s fundraising systems, to help them better fund scholarships, full-time staff, and other needs. It will also go toward a research project on about how to potentially transport kids back and forth for after-school programs. The money also will help with curriculum and professional development, Christian added.