If 2020 taught us anything, it would be that the spark of creativity shines in even the darkest corners. Here at Art Feeds, we have witnessed firsthand the overwhelming obstacles school teachers, administrators, and students have had to overcome in pursuit of learning this school year. From masking up to social distancing, this year has looked very different for students all around the world. The emotional toll of these changes cannot yet be fully understood, but we know that students will be impacted by them for years to come. It is now more important than ever that we support our local schools in providing safe places for students to express themselves through creativity.
In January, due to a generous grant from the Windgate Foundation, Art Feeds was able to provide 6,500 art packs for Springdale school students. Art Packs have long since been a staple of the Art Feeds world, however the need for them has never been greater. These packs will go a long way in ensuring that students have a safe way to get creative at school and at home in the months to come! Each Art Pack contains a variety of supplies created by our friends at iHeartArt Supplies including markers, crayons, watercolors, a sketchbook, a glue stick, pencils and a pencil sharpener. The best part- each pack comes with a tote bag that can be decorated to reflect the student’s personality. Just look at this rainbow color explosion, no two bags are alike!
In addition to Art Packs for 1st-3rd grade Springdale Elementary students, Crystal Bridges Museum generously donated 3,500 MyMuseum Classroom Kits for 4th and 5th grade students to help us provide art supplies to every single elementary student in the Springdale School District. Our friends at GoGo SqueeZ donated 4,000 pouches of healthy snacks to share with students as well. And that’s not all! Art Feeds has also provided an additional 1,500 art packs to students in Missouri schools, bringing the total amount of art packs donated to 8,000.
Our goal is always to fuel creativity for as many students as possible. A project like this could only be accomplished with the help of a small village- and ours has shown up for these students like never before! We would not have been able to pull this off without lots of helping hands along the way, with everything from packing boxes to unloading delivery trucks. Special shoutout to everyone who helped us get these much-needed supplies into over 20 schools. To American Ramp Company, CFI, New Creature and BCS for generously helping with storage and delivery of the supplies- 6 tons (12,000 pounds) of supplies is no small feat! Seeing so many classrooms piled high with art pack boxes was music to our eyes!
Art Feeds received funding from the Bridge Fund Grant from the Community Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange- CACHE last September and was able to provide every art instructor in the Springdale School District with Trauma Informed Care Training and Trauma Curriculum in order to better understand and address the complex and diverse needs of all students. This training focuses on using art as a tool for social and emotional wellness, and encourages teachers to create a safe space for children to express themselves authentically through art. We firmly believe that entire communities will benefit when children are allowed to explore their creativity in an open and safe environment.
We are so excited to see how the students in the Springdale and Missouri school districts utilize their art packs in the months to come! Perhaps the easiest way to understand the excitement is from the students themselves. Art Instructor at Lee Elementary and Westwood Elementary, Mrs. Gaston, shared quotes overheard from students throughout the day they received their art packs:
“This is mine to keep?! I don’t have to share with my sister anymore!”,
“This is AWESOME!!”
“I have never had my own paints before!”
“This is the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!”
When you give $10 to Art Feeds programming, you provide 1 art pack to one child to use throughout Art Feeds programming. Donate to Art Feeds here