Visiting Artists in the Virtual Classroom: Using Art As Expression

 In Arts Grant Program, grantmaking, PVF News, teacher grants, Visiting Artist in the Classroom Program

By Savannah Lira, Program Officer

Philanthropic Ventures Foundation’s Visiting Artist in the Classroom Grant program offers $500 grants for teachers to invite artists (e.g. painters, sculptors, wood carvers, weavers, musicians, dancers, poets, etc.) or art historians to visit their classrooms and lead fun, hands-on art projects. With distance learning, you may think this program isn’t possible right now, but you just have to be creative!

Made possible with funding by the Geballe Family, we have kept this program going due to the passion and ingenuity of our communities’ teachers. A common theme of recent Visiting Artist in the Classroom Grant requests have been to use art as a way for students to express their feelings surrounding the COVID pandemic.

Examples of this have included providing 1st grade students with their own keyboards at home so that they can create their own music and overcome feelings of isolation brought on by the pandemic and sending home art supplies for 24 Kindergarteners to have the opportunity to be creative and experience the joy of guided art projects during the year.

At Impact Academy of Arts and Technology in Hayward, two local artists led 140 middle school students in a mind map project using dry mediums like colored pencils and crayons to create a visual representation of what self-care and community-care look like.

In Oakland, 80 9th grade students at Metwest High School are learning from a local filmmaker, artist and teacher how to write, direct, edit, and showcase a short documentary about their lives or topics important to them.

This program fills a large need and makes a difference in the number of students who receive inspirational, quality arts education. Interactive workshops from professional artists in the community are motivating to students and increase both student and teacher morale.

If you want to bring an inspiring experience to your students, we welcome you to share your ideas with us! PVF would be proud to help them come to life.

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