Bartol Grantee Spotlight: Art Sphere Inc.
Students create watercolors and wax resist rubbings of famous paintings and drawings. (Photo courtesy of Art Sphere Inc.)
As part of a new Q&A series, we will be getting to know the Bartol Foundation’s 2018 grantees. Art Sphere Inc. was established in 1998 to bring arts education to low-income youth through after-school programs, collaborative public murals, community art events, and much more. They received a $5,000 Bartol grant for general operating support.
These questions were answered by four ASI staff members: Gab (Office Coordinator), Yujing (Graphic Designer), Sadie (Teaching Assistant), and Kristin (Executive Director). The team had so much fun answering the questions that they posted the full interview on their blog. Below is a selection of their responses.
What revs you up to go to work in the morning?
- A student that was sad about the summer program ending and already excited about and planning what we will be doing next year has got me thinking about next summer already!
- Being able to work independently on a project, given a task then asked and believed in to be able to complete it and my efforts being recognized as very valuable.
- The excitement to design a different handout for a new teaching assignment and posting it on the blog for our teachers, partners and the world to share.
- Feeling a sense of purpose and knowing little things can make a big difference. (Always having something to do!)
What is the coolest thing a participant in your program ever said to you?
- When excited students shared how happy they were to make puppets and flowers.
- The director sharing that she was so impressed with my fabulous work that she was sharing handouts to the partner because it expressed our curriculum goals better than words.
- When a new member was excited about volunteering and had all her paperwork submitted and wanted to start helping immediately!
- When a grandmother called and said even though no one in their family liked school or graduated high school, that our program inspired her grandson to go to college and he would be the first of his family to do so and how proud she was.
What is the best tip you can give to someone doing arts education programs like yours?
- Tap into the passion and creativity of all staff.
- Embrace the spirit of Kaizen – continuous self-improvement!
- Develop a site-specific curriculum that really interests and inspires students and staff member partners. Make art relevant by connecting art curriculum themes with current events.
- Provide learning materials not already available to your youth that combine ideas from other subject areas.
What is your favorite field trip? (Real or imagined.)
- We have had awesome nature walks in our urban neighborhoods where we have collected insects and leaves to draw and identify native and non-native plants and trees. Students are often amazed at “all that cool stuff we didn’t even notice before” right on their own block.
- We regularly used to take students with sketchbooks, bird identification books, binoculars, and backpacks with art materials to draw ducks, turtles, and landscapes directly from nature (with the details to make the different species identifiable) in John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. One field trip there topped them all, as a student overcame her very real fear of “killer turtles” and extreme dangers of animals not living in this region. It has been nicknamed our “Ninja Turtle” story, which we have shared and chuckled about ever since, and points out the importance of learning. It is so easy for youth to fear what they don’t know and for youth to believe what they see on TV and social media.
Best. Snack. Ever.
- Kind bars, chocolate covered expresso beans, and grapes – it’s grain, protein, caffeine, hydration, and dessert that can fit in a small side pouch of a backpack.
- Homemade Lemon Ricotta cookies.
- Seaweed Crackers.
- Blueberry Muffins.