Summer Arts Workshop

Making Art, Making Change

Begun in 2011, this grassroots effort creates unique learning opportuities for children living in Granville, St. James.

With your help, SAW has been able to grow a learning community by using art education to promote the love of reading among young people, engage families and create supportive learning spaces right inside an underserved community!

Best of all, the program is FREE of cost to the community's families.

How do we do it? 

With a ton of work, limited resources, creative stretching of every dollar and a LOT of love.

The outcome:  For six weeks, we transform a community space into a vibrant, nurturing learning center.

Community members come together as Instructors and Volunteers to facilitate an art-filled summer learning experience for children 5 - 16 years old.

Participants practice their reading and math skills,

learn about and make art,

 and develop new friendships.

Why does SAW happen each year?

It's a question of social justice.  

We believe that *every* child deserves and should have access to opportuities to learn, to create, and to grow as human beings, regardless of what school they attend, where they live or their family's economic situation. 

It's not enough to complain that children are not doing well in school.

The issue of inequity in the quality of education extends beyond the school facilities and into communities and families.

The material conditions in which they live and learn also matter.

Content matters.  

The way that the education experience makes children feel and think about themselves and the world around them matter.

Imagination matters.


It is time find creative ways to re-think the role of education and the way that communities can shape how young people see themselves.

The past five years of SAW have shown that: 

1. Young people want to learn and feel affirmed.  They want to feel proud of achieving something of their own - a new word, a new technique, a completed project, most books read - right in their own community.

2. Families do the best they can with what they have.  
Providing this learning space for children eases the financial burden on families, provides external affirmation of the children's abilities, and allows parents to see their children in a new and affirming light.

3. Community members want to be proud of the place they live, and value opportunities to work together for collective benefit. 

Who Benefits?


* Instructors learn and practice ways of teaching in a community context that foster both confidence and self-reflection

* Every participant in SAW is made to feel welcome, regardless of their physical or intellectual abilities.  As a result, children learn to value the diversity that they see around them.

* Parents see that it is possible for their children to develop a love for reading, and learn how they can encourage these habits.

* Community members, both individuals and institutions - from businessowners to artisans to ordinary residents to churches - benefit economically, and have a concrete opportunity to work together to creating and sustaining nurturing spaces for the wider community.  

How much does SAW cost?

SAW 2015 = US$5,000.00 (direct costs = staff; transportation; supplies)


SAW 2016 =  US$7,500.00 (estimated)

* staff; transportation; food; supplies for photography and graffitti program)

SAW 2016 needs your help to make the work happen. 

Help grow the future that we want to see.

Support SAW to foster imagination, critical inquiry and creativity among young people;

Support SAW to help youth and families become change agents in their communities.

What you can do:

1.  Check out our wish list and photos of last year's activities at

2.  Make a donation. No amount too small to make a difference.  One one coco full basket.

 3. Ask your friends to donate and help you raise $100, $200, $500 

4.  Ask how you can help to keep this important work going:  [email redacted] 

  • Joanna Gardner-Huggett 
    • $50 
    • 71 mos
  • Melinda Brown 
    • $50 
    • 71 mos
  • Ada Cheng 
    • $50 
    • 71 mos
  • Jennifer Tronchin 
    • $150 (Offline)
    • 71 mos
  • Mary Farris 
    • $100 
    • 71 mos
See all


Natalie D. A. Bennett 
Chicago, IL
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