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    Coming Together To Create At-Home Arts Kits for Students
    Posted on 05/19/2020
    Mercer Middle School art teacher, Toni Brooks handing out art kits at the Mercer lunch site..

    This spring has been a challenge for everyone. Families have been scrambling to keep their children engaged in learning and also to support their children's social-emotional needs in a stressful time. Engaging in the arts helps with both, but some of our families don't have basic art materials like crayons, paper and scissors.

    The very first day that Seattle Schools were closed, Creative Advantage staff got a message from Julie Trout, art teacher at John Muir Elementary, who had been working on take home art activities to send home with her students on the last day before the closure. "A huge issue I ran into with very little notice on Wednesday was to create take home activities etc when many of our families do not have supplies at home."

    Thanks to funds already made available from the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who have been supporting SPS' partnership with the Seattle Housing Authority, we were able to act fast to place an order for art materials from Blick Art Materials in Capitol Hill. Blick offered to donate a number of the supplies that are going into the kits.

    Three different kits were designed by SPS teachers to engage pre-school, elementary and secondary students and staff from schools, Early Learning, School Community Partnerships, Curriculum and Instruction, Warehouse and Publishing Services ensured that kits would reach:

    200 students in 5 shelters
    1,550 students at 24 affordable rental housing sites run by seven housing partner
    67 students at child care providers operating in schools that stepped up to provide child care to our first responders and other essential workers
    1,500 students enrolled in art classes at 28 middle and high schools

    Since this all started almost two months ago, I keep coming across this quote from Brené Brown: “Art has the power to render sorrow beautiful, make loneliness a shared experience, and transform despair into hope.” I am inspired to see so many people and organizations in Seattle come together right now to support our kids with the tools they need to stay creative and engaged.

    You can donate to The Creative Advantage via our fiscal agent, The Seattle Foundation, HERE. Donations will support expanding arts learning through partnerships, arts integration, and in-school arts classes to all students in Seattle Public Schools.

    -Audrey Querns, Creative Advantage Project Manager for SPS