By Don Lee, Nomad Brush
A few months ago, we were introduced to Schoolhouse Supplies through a fellow parent in our community. As a small business based here in Portland – my wife and are co-founders of Nomad Brush, we are passionate about inspiring and facilitating the creative process for artists of all ages. We are also new PPS parents- our oldest son started First grade this month, so our eyes are opening up to the rising need in our community for supporting arts and education. (Did you know, for example, that according to the Creative Advocacy Network, 81% of local Portland public elementary school students have never received certified instruction in art?).
So we decided to step up and do our part. Last month, we hosted a Digital Art Workshop at the Art Institute of Portland, and hosted an art supply collection drive among attendees. Seeing the bin full of crayons, notebooks, and paper we’d collected was a great start, we knew, but as we’d blogged about this summer in “Why The Art Shelves Are Empty,” art supplies are always in high-demand at the Free Store, so we knew we wanted to do more to help local teachers start off the school year armed with as many tools as possible.
So in honor of Keep Kids Creative Week, we decided to reach out to one of our favorite local art retailers, Muse Art & Design to help us source a collection of paintbrushes, acrylic, tempura, and watercolor paints, crayons, and construction paper, to help jump-start the school season. We have also donated a supply of Nomad Brush collection for local teachers who are fortunate enough to have access to iPads or other tablet devices in their classrooms
We had the honor of delivering the supplies and helping stock the shelves with these supplies, just as the store opened its doors for the days’ teacher shoppers. What an experience! Here are some photos from the day.
We hope this inspires and enables more creativity in local classrooms this Fall- and inspires more of you to consider what you, too, might be able to do to help fill the Free Store shelves – with tools inspired by your personal and professional passions, or explore other volunteer opportunities, too! We encourage anyone out there to contact Caitlin@schoolhousesupplies.org if you’re interested in learning more about ways you can help and key areas of need.
Want to learn more about the importance of art in schools? The Oregon Art Education Association’s list of Ten Lessons the Arts Teach is a great place to start. Nomad Brush also runs a blog which focuses on arts education issues and staying creative, and we welcome your comments, ideas, and connections there, too!