Benefit intends to draw more artists to classrooms

A fundraiser Sept. 6 to 30 at Kurtzman Lintott Gallery, 412 Main St., will benefit a new initiative of the Art Heritage Program in School District 51.

Forty local artists will donate 4-inch by 6-inch pieces of original art and photography for the fundraiser, which will open with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Sept. 6 at the gallery. Patrons can purchase the postcard-sized pieces of art for $45 each.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit a new speakers fund within the Art Heritage Program. The fund will pay for well-known artists to come to schools to lead students in an art activity and tell children what inspired them when they were kids.

The Art Heritage Program sends volunteers into District 51 elementary schools to teach kindergarten through fifth-grade students about artists and lead them in an art project. Volunteers visit one or two classrooms in a school at least six times per year. The program has about 250 volunteers, according to program coordinator Connie Robbins-Brady.

Without Art Heritage, almost all art-teaching duties would fall to classroom teachers in local elementary schools. The only art teachers at district elementary schools are a part-time art teacher at Fruitvale Elementary and a full-time art teacher at Thunder Mountain Elementary. Robbins-Brady also oversees a separate Artist in Residence program, which provides art instruction for a few weeks at a school, but the school must match the program’s funding in order to pay the instructor.

“My ultimate goal has been trying to get more art teachers in schools,” Robbins-Brady said. “When volunteers walk into those classrooms, they’re heroes to those kids.”

The program is seeking more volunteers. Call 254-5489 or visit artheritageprogram.org for more information about volunteering or to donate money to the program.


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