Five Charleston County School District (CCSD) schools have been awarded art kits to fuel young artists’ talents from Fresh Artists, a non-profit organization that supports schools throughout the U.S.
The grant provides free art supplies to teachers so students can continue to create and explore through art making. Art teachers had the option to choose from ten different art kits; each art kit focuses on a different medium, ie. painting, drawing or sculpture. CCSD schools that received the grant are Angel Oak, Edith L. Frierson, Lambs, North Charleston, and Pepperhill Elementary Schools.
Fresh Artists accepts applications once a year from art teachers in high-poverty schools. Each teacher requested a kit that would enhance an upcoming class project; there are sculpture kits, drawing kits, and general art kits (pencils, paper, markers, glue & scissors). It’s a competitive process with far more requests than available art kits.
“Art is an essential part of every child’s education,” said Katie Latona, spokesperson for Fresh Artists. “It teaches 21st century job skills like critical thinking, creative problem solving, risk-taking, collaboration and innovation. Art can keep less academically successful children in school. But as school districts’ budgets shrink, art is usually the first thing to be cut. In the schools we serve, over half have no budget for art supplies. Period.”
The art kits have inspired a street art project at Pepperhill Elementary, a Gullah Geechee project, and more. Megan Sweeney, the art teacher at Angel Oak teaches over 650 students per week. “Supplies are always in demand,” said Sweeney. “I am so grateful to have received the art kit grant. The supplies included Sharpies, pencils, sharpeners, drawing paper, scissors, and glue. We have been using the materials to create paintings, collages, drawings and multi-media pieces.”
Journey Stein, an art teacher at Pepperhill, requested the marker kit. “We received a class pack of skinny Crayola markers and fat Crayola markers, as well as skinny Sharpie markers and fat sharpie markers,” said Stein. “We use Sharpies all the time for almost every project, for outlining. The Crayola markers have been super handy.”
Stein said students are learning a technique with the markers where they use them to color just the outlines, and then use a paintbrush with water to cause the colors to bleed. “We’ve made some really cool chameleons, a watercolor llama, and some rainbow fish,” said Stein. The best part has been explaining to my students how lucky we are to receive these materials. They have been taking such good care of them, and we haven’t had one dried out marker yet.”
Josette Bozarth, an art teacher at Lambs has not used the materials from the kit yet, but is reserving it for the spring time for a school-wide theme of Under the Sea, which will be part of an art show. “These grants take care of all the details of shopping and shipping fresh new art making materials like luscious new oil pastels, juicy new markers, watercolor sets, brilliantly-hued tempera paints, and reams of colorful construction paper,” said Latona. “The fresh new supplies delight the students, who see a tangible investment made in their school and community – an investment made possible by their teacher’s care and effort.”
For information about Fresh Artists and their art kit program, contact Katie Latona, [email protected] For more information about how these grants will help CCSD students, contact the Office of Strategy and Communications at (843) 937-6303.