FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 4, 2021
CHATHAM ARTS COUNCIL AND COMMUNITY PARTNERS JOIN FORCES TO BRING ART SUPPLIES TO LOCAL SCHOOL CHILDREN
Much More than Coloring Tools, Art Provides a Critical Outlet to Process Trauma
Pittsboro, NC—When people are struggling to make ends meet during a pandemic, it’s easy to see how the need for creativity can be overlooked. Are markers and glue necessities for students? Experts respond with a resounding, “yes!” That’s why the Chatham Arts Council, Chatham County Schools, and community partners have come together through ArtAssist for Kids, a project designed to provide basic art supplies to Chatham County students who don’t have them during this time of remote learning. Research shows that art not only offers a creative outlet for children, but importantly, it also provides an avenue for processing trauma.
“This project is about so much more than colored pencils and paper,” asserted Cheryl Chamblee, Executive Director of the Chatham Arts Council (CAC). “Art is such an important way to process difficult experiences and feelings. Expression builds resilience.”
The first round of art supply kits, consisting of paper, pencils, erasers, markers, colored pencils, and glue, were distributed in late January to at least 1,300 elementary and middle school students participating in remote learning, whose families are in financial need. About 50 high school students who are on an arts trajectory will also receive needed supplies, such as sketchbooks, paint pens, and flair pens. Teachers worked together to identify basic items that they noticed were missing from their students’ remote learning toolkits. ArtAssist for Kids hopes to fill that void.
“Creating art provides a means of expression for students – especially during this time of social isolation,” explained Sharon Allen, Lead Arts Teacher, Chatham County Schools. “Chatham County Schools appreciates the Chatham Arts Council and their generous donors for supplying students with the tools they need to participate in art classes while learning remotely.”
This initiative represents a shift in how the CAC approaches creative programming for the community. During the pandemic, the CAC has been reaching out to the community to uncover needs, then determining how the organization can best help. The impetus to create ArtAssist for Kids was born out of art teachers’ needs for their students. The CAC recognized the positive impact art supplies could have for students and partnered with donors to fulfill the need.
“The CAC is delighted to be standing alongside impactful organizations like Chatham Education Foundation, Communities in Schools, CORA, Hispanic Liaison, and West Chatham Food Pantry – who are all finding ways to help within their own focus areas during the pandemic,” expressed Chamblee. “Chatham children are the most important part of this story. They’ve got big stories to tell and big thoughts to think about their lives and their futures.”
Based on response from teachers, the CAC is currently raising funds for round two of ArtAssist for Kids to supply kits to more than 1,000 additional Chatham children who are without basic art supplies at home. The organization aims to distribute kits by early March.
ArtAssist for Kids is possible thanks to support from Lloyd Grading & Utilities, Opus Financial Advisors, the congregation of Chatham Community Church, Paula Stafford and SoCo, and the Pittsboro Rotary Club.
Arts for Resilient Kids is the umbrella program over three unique initiatives in pandemic times, specifically aligned with the CAC’s mission to educate kids through the arts. If you’d like to support ArtAssist for Kids, Artists-OUTSIDE-Schools, and this year’s ClydeFEST-in-the-Wild, please click here. Your generosity will be used to help bring one of these three kid-centric programs to life.
For more information on ArtAssist for Kids, please click here.
ABOUT THE CHATHAM ARTS COUNCIL
The Chatham Arts Council nurtures creative thinkers in Chatham County. We do this in two ways: we invest in artists and we educate kids through the arts. In its thirty-seventh year as a nonprofit arts agency, Chatham Arts Council’s flagship programs include Meet This Artist, Go See This, artist grants, and the Chatham Artists-in-Schools Initiative – serving more than 3,500 children this year. Chatham Arts Council is proud to partner with the NC Arts Council, the Durham Arts Council, Chatham County Schools, and numerous Chatham arts organizations, human resource nonprofits, and local businesses. For more information, visit www.ChathamArtsCouncil.org.
CONTACT: April Starling, Marketing/Public Relations Leader of the Chatham Arts Council, firstname.lastname@example.org or 917.544.0608.
NOTE: Feel free to publish partially or in its entirety, with or without a byline. The article was written by April Starling, Marketing/Public Relations Leader, Chatham Arts Council.