Nearly 20% of the teachers who responded to our autumn survey said they spend their own money to provide art supplies in their classrooms. When that many teachers have difficulty getting creativity resources, it rings alarm bells for us, because we know how important the arts are to kids’ development – not just to their grades and scores (though ongoing research shows the connection) but also to their awareness, perception, understanding, and judgment.
Some food for thought from people involved in advocating for arts education:
…words do not, in their literal form or number, exhaust what we can know. The limits of our language do not define the limits of our cognition…The arts teach students to think through and within a material.
Kristen Engebretsen, Americans for the Arts
Beyond the qualities of creativity, self-expression, and communication…through art, our students learn the meaning of joy of work – work done to the best of one’s ability, for its own sake, for the satisfaction of a job well done.
National Art Education Association
With matters as important as cognition and the joy of work on the line, of course Schoolhouse Supplies wants to jump in and bridge the gap!
Historically, we have received the fewest donations in our art supplies category, so we have targeted art supplies as one of three areas for focused growth in the Free Store for Teachers.
Our first big step in that direction was our partnership with Handmade NW during last December’s Formal Holiday Artisans Fair. Since it was founded in 2008, Handmade NW has partnered with local nonprofits as a way of living its mission: crafting community. The Fair raised more than $1,200 to help stock our art aisle.
Earlier this year, we received an additional boost of support from Ryan & Bianca McCarthy who had the winning bid for our Arts Word Nerd, Jenny Morbacher, at this year’s OnPoint Community Credit Union Celebrity Spelling Bee. (Each of the three Word Nerds – who qualified for the Bee in public “stinger” rounds – represented a high-need section of the Free Store; audience members were able to bid for these Word Nerds to support the area of the store they feel most passionate about.)
What can you do to support Arts Month? We’re so glad you asked!
» Host an art supply drive for things like paint, brushes, pastels and construction paper
» Donate funds online ($25 can provide supplies for an entire classroom art project)
» Donate gently used art supplies or surplus art paper to the Free Store