By Hayley Thomas
This holiday season, Studios on the Park encourages the community to donate to a unique youth program hosted by the local arts nonprofit.
Donations will benefit the Kids Art Smart program, which provides local elementary school students with professional art instruction. Studios hopes to raise $20,000 in an effort to offer the program in 2012.
“Thousands of children came through the building this fall, where we provide professional art instruction to all elementary students,” said Studios on the Park Programs Director Sasha Irving. “We want every child to have opportunity to experience the joy of art.”
Studios has already benefited four local elementary schools. Organizers hope to include students at Georgia Brown and Kermit King elementary schools in the coiming year.
“We have found a real role in the community in terms of providing high-quality arts education to students who don’t have the opportunity to receive it,” Irving said.
The program developed as a group effort between local donors and the nonprofit. Irving hopes for a fruitful relationship next year.
“What began as an experiment resulting from a one-time grant from the Central Coast Wine Classic has developed into the heart and soul of our efforts to share the creative process with our community,” she said. “Many other generous donors and volunteers enabled us to present the program this fall. By the end of this year, more than 2,000 public elementary students will have visited Studios on the Park for hands-on professional art classes completely free of charge. They are creating original works of art in mediums such as marblizing, watercolor, collage, ceramics and printmaking."
According to Studios on the Park, ordinarily these students - 47 percent of which are considered low-income and at-risk - receive no formal arts education.
"The result is a lost opportunity to develop creeative thinking and personal expression," said Irving. "Kids Art Smart changes this, but we need your help to ensure that students from Georgia Broan and Kermit King elementary schools can experience the joy of art in Spring 2012."
From its inception, Studios President and foudner Anne Laddon envisioned reaching out to young students.
"When this building was nothing but anempty shell four years ago, I imagined all these bright young faces racing through the front door to start thier art projects, and my dream has come true."
In October 2010, Studios received a $25,000 matching grant from the Central Coast Wine Classic that joined with donations from the Avalon Foundation, Hearst Foundation, Hind Foundation, private donors and local busiensses to make the program possible.
Call 610-5596 or visit studiosonthepark.org for more information.