Many adjustments were made to everyday life during the COVID-19 Pandemic. One way local students had to modify their “normal” school schedules was going from in-person learning to a virtual or hybrid model. After considering this change, the Academy staff became increasingly aware many children may lose access to arts education and supplies while learning from home.
In response, the Academy partnered with sponsors Bank of the James and Centra Health to raise funds through an Art Supply Drive program supplying art kits to our community’s children with the opportunity to create art projects in their own homes.
“The arts provide our community with a place to express themselves through various mediums,” said Tremayne Edwards, Director of Community Outreach. “Art is not an elective, it’s an essential part of the human experience, and our hope is that area students can use the provided supplies and project ideas to inspire new ideas and passions in the future.”
After a month of raising funds and donations for the Art Supply Drive, the Academy was able to provide over 700 art kits with instructions to schools in need in the surrounding area.
“Being able to provide art supplies to children in our area who currently may have limited access to art due to the pandemic was incredibly rewarding,” said Adara Wright, Coordinator of Curriculum Development. “This is the primary reason why the art drive was so important – because of limited offerings of art in schools, kids may need art more than ever now. It is also a way to remind the community that we as your local arts center are still here for you! We can now work even more intentionally to fulfill our mission as the Academy to find ways to help art thrive in our community.”
While many local students and staff members were thrilled to receive art kits through the Academy’s Art Supply Drive, T.C. Miller Elementary had a unique way of saying “Thank you” for keeping art in the classroom.
“When we received the thank you video from TC Miller, I was moved to tears,” said Adara Wright. “Seeing an art project I created in the hands of countless children was incredibly humbling. We greatly appreciate the support of those in our community to help make this remarkable project happen!”