OUR MINORITY ART PROGRAM MUST CONTINUE
My name is John Roach; I have an associate's degree in Fine Arts and a bachelor's degree in Public Relations. In my community, I am an art teacher for adults. I taught the basics of charcoal and acrylic painting at the West-end community Shawnee Branch Library, when and if funding was available.
Many of my students are from ages 40 to 67; the others are younger. And Although I had students of different nationalities, most of them live in minority neighborhoods. When asked, there were several reasons why these students enjoyed attending the art sessions. Some enjoyed getting out and meeting others; some say they always wanted to learn art, and others wanted to advance their abilities. High school students also attended. They loved it, and they looked forward to it. Some contacted the library to ask if the program will ever return.
These art sessions were free and open to the public twice a week for two and a half hours. However, sometimes, younger adults came to the sessions hungry, so we provided snacks for them during each session; we also provided the students' art supplies during the sessions. And depending on what little funding we received, I accepted a small fee per class session. (The Libraries in the minority community received a small share of a grant from the Brown and Forman endowment).
The art sessions were successful because they added another educational value to our community. The program played a part in helping to keep our community-based Libraries open by providing more activities for adults and senior citizens. Our community needs this program, and more like it, but we lack funding.
When the pandemic hit, the funding dried up, and the art sessions ended.
I believe that if we have the opportunity to use our skills and abilities to improve the lives of frustrated, depressed, and hopeless individuals, then we should get busy and move on it. With help from successful organizations, we can rebuild, educate, and strengthen our communities from the inside out. The will of talented young leaders are there, but we can do nothing without desperately needed funding to change the lives of those who call upon us.
As we all are aware, covid-19 has affected much of our society in many ways. It changed our way of life and slowed progress. As scientists discover and find better ways to cure this pandemic, our schools, libraries, and other institutions will open again. No one is sure when, but hopefully, things will be better in the spring of next year (2021).
I love teaching and working with my community. They just need someone who understands them, who cares for them, and who is willing to help.
I am requesting funding from those of you who care. Your funds will allow us to stock up with needed art supplies, various snacks provided for class sessions, a commission for teacher's pay, and materials and preparations to meet the standards for covid. If you care to help us with whatever you can in this cause, It will be most appreciated by all.
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