The ArtSkool Project keeps art in the lives of children by working to prevent the elimination of visual art programs from K-12 schools.
The ArtSkool Project keeps art in the lives of children by working to prevent the elimination of visual art programs from K-12 schools. Read more
In 2011, spurred on by yet another school's announcement that it would be eliminating its visual art program due to budget restrictions, I began the ArtSkool Project. My goal was to come up with an affordable alternative for schools that could no longer support a full-time visual art program. ArtSkool’s model allows schools to pool their resources and offer art enrichment programs taught by an established, professional artist, who genuinely loves to teach. ArtSkool also provides all materials and equipment for the classes—right down to the basics like pencils and paper. These two factors have proven to be the key to the project's success.
Currently, ArtSkool serves 40 children at multiple schools in the Central Texas area ranging in age from 3 to 13 years old. Next year, we would like to increase the number of students and schools in the program.
Typical ArtSkool classes are conducted onsite, during the school day, so there are no transportation hassles for parents. These classes include training in a variety of media, as well as age appropriate art history lessons. Many of our students live in rural areas, and some of them may never have the opportunity to visit major art museums or view significant exhibits--so, ArtSkool brings the art to them. Art History lessons also add value by informing the students about social, historical, and economic issues surrounding the creation a particular work, which in turn reinforces the information that they learn in their normal history or social studies classes.
Now that you have heard about what ArtSkool does, here is what the project needs. Put simply, growing this program means purchasing additional art supplies, acquiring larger transportation, and renting or purchasing more storage space.
To put our supply costs in perspective, a sketchbook large enough to last the year costs $7.95; 40 of them equals $318.00. A beginner set of student-grade watercolors, including a brush costs $24.95; 40 sets equal $998.00. As you can see, supply costs add up very quickly. Our classes are taught as enrichment programs; thus the students want to be there, and I set high expectations for them. In response, they work hard, and quality supplies are necessary to support their artistic growth.
ArtSkool's transportation and storage needs go hand in hand. Currently, the schools in this program have no available storage space for either supplies or partially completed projects. As a result, all supplies and projects for 40 children must be transported to and from each class every day. This limits the size and type of projects that can be taught. For example, media that require a long drying time are problematic. Drying racks are an easy solution, but they cannot stay at the school and they won't fit in the car! Our current storage space is also bursting at the seams. The program simply cannot grow until these issues are resolved. As a result, a portion of the funds raised by this kickstarter will be used for the purchase of a large van or SUV and the rental or purchase of additional storage space.
Finally, if you are a kickstarter regular, you know that projects occasionally over-achieve their funding goals. So, ArtSkool's stretch goal is to fund the purchase of an RV. This vehicle will be used to support a mobile classroom and transport instructors and supplies to distant areas. A mobile classroom will allow ArtSkool serve to children and young adults at non-traditional venues, such as disaster relief and domestic violence shelters. Often children and teenagers in these environments have experienced extreme emotional trauma, and art can be a powerful tool in teaching them how to cope with overwhelming emotional issues in a positive way while giving them the self-esteem necessary to resist gang-violence and other destructive influences.
In recognition of its efforts to date, the ArtSkool Project recently received fiscal sponsorship from the Salado Arts Workshop, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded on the belief that art changes lives. This means that all contributions made to this kickstarter will be tax-deductible. Thank you for your support.
- (30 days)