Working with the art teachers in the Bloomsburg elementary schools, our Art Cart facilitator Anne Cosper put together 300 art kits for the students to work on at home; the kits got distributed on Friday, the 14th of May, 2020. More than half of the kits got delivered directly to homes along with lunches, with the rest picked up by parents while picking up lunches in front of Memorial Elementary on 5th St.
We have had all sorts of donations of all sorts of art supplies over the years, and Anne sorted through the boxes in storage here at The Exchange to find appropriate materials for this project, a homemade sketchbook and drawing implements. Anne tells the story:
"When the possibility of adding an art project to the school lunches was brought up, Tara, art teacher at W.W. Evans, mentioned her concerns that since her students’ sketchbooks were unavailable in the school, they might find it difficult to complete art prompts. I found a make-it-yourself sketchbook on line that we could adapt for the art kits. It was budget-minded as well, requiring only cardstock, paper, a craft stick, and a rubber band.
"The district provided lunch bags and we were set -- all we had to do was fill three hundred of them with the sketchbook kits and other items. The Exchange is fortunate to have donors who pass along items for the Art Cart: craft stems, buttons and beads, stickers, yarn, foam shapes, pencils, markers, kid scissors -- all perfect additions to the lunch bags.
"The bags took over my front room. Three hundred of them in regimented rows like that army of terra cotta soldiers in China. The bags contained the art project, art supplies, and odds and ends from the Exchange’s Art Cart stash -- an extra something for students who are coping with changes to their routines.
"While it’s nice to have my room back, my cat will miss his new-found hiding places among the bags. A big thank you to everyone who donated items for the Art Cart, to the Bloomsburg Area School District, to art teachers Tara and Kim, and to Art Cart accomplices Gini, Steve, and Lisa.
"I’m off to watch the bags go out, from a safe, social distance, of course."
Click here for our coloring page with Anne Cosper artwork!
The Art Cart has arrived! Since the summer of 2015, the Exchange has brought art supplies to more than 50 venues throughout our area, from the Bloomsburg YMCA and Kiwanis day camps and the Children’s Museum to Brookdale Bloomsburg Senior Living and Balanced Care, as well as the Danville Child Development Center; the Bloomsburg, Danville, and Berwick public libraries; and many of the special-needs camps at Camp Victory outside of Millville. We make monthly visits with the seniors living at Bloomsburg Towers, Vintage Knolls, Nazareth Memory Center, and other places.
Our facilitators bring projects in many media, including painting and drawing, cut-out paper, and sculpture. They tailor the projects to any age group and any size group.
To read our facilitators' essays about their Art Cart experiences, click here.
The Exchange provides the Art Cart for free: Grantors include the Berwick Health and Wellness Fund of the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation; the Danville Area Community Foundation; the Charles B. Degenstein Foundation; the United Way of Columbia and Montour County; PPL Foundation; the Bemis Foundation; and the Bloomsburg Area Community Foundation.
Through strategic partnerships, the PPL Foundation supports organizations that do innovative and groundbreaking work to create vital, sustainable communities and to empower each citizen to fulfill her or his potential. The PPL Foundation contributes more than $2 million annually to a wide variety of non-profit organizations in northern and central Pennsylvania.
The Berwick Health and Wellness Fund is the original and largest fund of the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation. Its purpose is to improve the health and welfare of residents and communities of eastern Columbia and western Luzerne counties.
“It thrills us that these organizations have chosen to support the Art Cart,” says Exchange executive director Oren B. Helbok. “As an occasional Art Cart facilitator myself, I have seen what a difference it makes in people’s lives to have the opportunity to make the world more beautiful, by sharing the beauty inside each of us. We provide the Art Cart as a free service wherever it goes, and support from foundations as well as from individuals makes this service possible. We urge people to learn more about the Exchange and about the Art Cart, and to make contributions supporting our activities.”
If you would like us to bring the Art Cart to your organization or venue, please get in touch with us!