While in a remote learning setting, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and partners across the city have been persistent in getting art supplies to schools and students. SPS and The Creative Advantage led a massive effort to ensure students have the art materials they need.
SPS has worked with many partners to make this possible, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Seattle Department of Education & Early Learning, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and the Seattle Seahawks through the donation they made to The Creative Advantage last spring.
“It’s critical that students are validated and affirmed through art materials that allow them to express, explore, connect, and deepen their learning,” Gail Sehlhorst, Visual and Performing Arts Manager for SPS said. “This pandemic is rough on all of us and this project has brought so many institutions and people together — it’s been a bright spot — and we are so very grateful.”
In some schools, our amazing visual arts educators also collected and distributed supplies from their own classrooms to make sure their students had what they needed to continue learning in a remote setting. As a result, the district will be able to purchase art materials for every school with students enrolled in visual arts courses.
“Access to high quality arts materials is a matter of equity,” said Ashraf Hasham, Youth Arts Manager for the Office of Arts & Culture. “I’m so proud of this City and all of its players for coming together to meet this need, and that these ‘arts kits’ can be incorporated with the Teen Hubs, our Online Arts videos we created this past Spring, and our synchronous after-school arts education opportunities we’re cooking up for this coming Winter.”
This effort will serve approximately 25,000 students across the district with art kits. Providing important invest in the of arts and creativity so that students can to continue learning with quality art materials while at home.
“One of DEEL’s top priorities during this period of remote learning is to support students’ social-emotional needs and ensure that they are able to connect and engage in meaningful ways while learning remotely, especially for our students of color and those furthest from educational justice.” said DEEL Director Dwane Chappelle. “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Office of Arts and Culture in this effort to enhance student engagement and participation through the arts. Supporting the Creative Advantage at our SBI schools and providing arts materials to students participating in Teen Hubs are great ways to encourage student creativity and care for their social and emotional wellbeing.”
The art kits may include a variety of materials, depending on the school or course, such as markers, erasers, pipe cleaners, colored pencils, sharpies, sketchbooks, scissors, paints and paintbrushes, glue sticks, crayons, and different papers like colorful construction paper, card stock, non-lined paper, and more. At one school, local restaurant Pagliacci Pizza even donated pizza boxes to hold all the supplies for students.
Thank you to all of our partners that worked together to make this possible and for our visual arts educators for assembling and distributing the kits to their students. It truly was a team effort to serve all SPS students, especially those furthest from educational justice. During this time of uncertainty, it’s important to give students ways to express themselves through the arts, even while learning from home.
Learn more about visual and performing arts at Seattle Public Schools.