Today’s post comes from Polly Ellman, Williams College class of 2022 and Art Center summer intern.
This summer, the Loeb embarked on a project to provide local, low-income students with much-
needed art supplies and a chance to interact remotely with our collection, despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic limiting in-person access to the galleries and our typical arts education opportunities.
This project, a collaboration with teachers and administrators from the Arlington and Poughkeepsie City school districts, aimed to address the concerns of art teachers who have found that many students lack supplies at home needed to make distance learning run smoothly. The goal was to get a kit of crucial art-making materials into the hands of students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels who most need them.
In addition to art supplies, students were also provided with activity cards prepared by Loeb summer intern Polly Ellman, Williams College Class of 2022, that draw directly from the museum’s permanent collection, offering examples of works diverse in medium, cultural origin, era, and genre, along with art historical information about these works and art-making prompts to guide the students in getting started with their new materials. Each card is centered around a single art-making material found in the art supply kits: watercolor, oil pastel, colored pencil, crayon, pen, and drawing pencil. Inspiring works from the Loeb’s collection rendered in each card’s highlighted medium are paired with prompts for students to look, write, and create original artwork. These cards aim to provide students with both educational content and thought-provoking exercises to prompt their own creativity, allowing for both guidance and independence in the students’ own art-making processes.
More than 800 art-making kits and cards will be distributed free of charge to local students in the two districts in the coming weeks. This project will continue the Loeb’s work of providing its visitors with educational content and experiences that inspire creative acts, while responding to the critical needs of local students and teachers during this time of great change and uncertainty.
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center would like to express gratitude to Blick Art Materials and to Main Printing in Poughkeepsie for helping to make the project affordable, and to the members and other donors who have so generously supported the Loeb’s education program throughout the years.