Northeast Louisiana Arts Council creates Start With Art program

Start With Art will give Region 8's economically disadvantaged children early access to the arts.
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 12:50 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council is starting a new program to give early access to the arts for economically disadvantaged children. The Start with Art program will benefit children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

The NELA Arts Council received a $14,000 endowment grant from the Junior League of Monroe to kick start the program in Ouachita Parish.

As of February 2018, studies show 49% percent of the children in our ten regional parishes didn’t have a chance to take an art class.

Start with Art will give children a kit filled with basic art supplies like crayons, colored pencils, markers, construction paper and more. Local artists across Region 8 are also contributing to this new program.

“Regional artists from across Region 8 are going to be submitting small 10 minute videos for the teachers to show in the classroom. So extra art instruction, but also sharing where they come from. Kids are not just getting art supplies and art instruction. They’re also able to look at other artists in their area and say, ‘Oh, I connect with this person because they’re maybe from the same neighborhood I’m from or they’re from the same town I’m from or they grew up kind of like I did,” NELA Arts Council community development coordinator Abigail Handy said.

Local artists will use the same supplies in the kit to come up with small art projects for the children to complete.

For now, kits will stay in the classroom during the school year and go home when school ends.

Riser Elementary in West Monroe and Berg Jones Elementary in Monroe will be the pilot schools for the program. The council expects to send out about 600 kits to the schools.

The NELA Arts Council hopes to grow the program and potentially part with local businesses to sponsor kits. Right now, it costs about $25 to make a kit.

For more information about Start with Art, click here.

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