Arts Center seeks community support to claim $10K in matching funds for kids art programs

By KATE SNYDER

Community Arts Center

Class scholarships, art field trips, and community-based outreach programs. These are the three programs at the heart of the Community Arts Center’s year-end fundraising campaign – and the focus of the organization’s participation in the GoodGiving Guide Challenge, which begins 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Thanks to support from the Hudson-Ellis Fund, Bluegrass Community Bank, and Johnson-Pohlmann insurance, the Arts Center has an opportunity to earn up to $10,000 in matching funds during the Challenge.

The GoodGiving Guide Challenge is an online fundraising campaign organized by the Blue Grass Community Foundation in Lexington. Over 100 nonprofits throughout Central and Eastern Kentucky will be participating in the Challenge, including nine in Boyle County. “We’re focusing our efforts on youth programs this year: field trips, class scholarships, and outreach,” says Mary Beth Touchstone, executive director. “Those are three of our top organizational priorities, but all three programs are currently underfunded. Funding for the arts is down right at the time when demand is growing more rapidly than we’ve seen in years.”

Last year, the Arts Center awarded over 40 scholarships, making it possible for families who cannot afford the cost of classes to still experience the benefits of making art. “We recognize that finances are a huge barrier to participation for many families,” says Arts Center Education Director Maggie Shapiro Haskett. “We never want families to feel that art classes are out of their reach. That’s why the scholarship fund is so important.”

Field trips are another top priority. In the fall, over 400 students from the Danville, Boyle County, and Kentucky School for the Deaf visited the Arts Center for free field trips to the Horizon: Contemporary Landscape exhibit. For the 2016-2017 school year, the Arts Center is targeting second- and third-grade classes, along with students with disabilities. A grant from the Hudson-Ellis Fund supported the fall field trips, but the Arts Center is counting on community support via the GoodGiving Challenge to fund visits by another 400 students in January and February during the New Year New Art exhibit. 

A.J. Reese of Stanford received a scholarship to participate in "Under the Sea" camp this summer at the Community Arts Center.

A.J. Reese of Stanford received a scholarship to participate in “Under the Sea” camp this summer at the Community Arts Center.

Bluegrass Community Bank is stepping up to help the Arts Center meet its field trip goal by offering matching funds through the Challenge. Denise van Steenlandt, president and CEO, says “Bluegrass Community Bank wishes to give back to the community, and what better way than through the children in our community? Bluegrass is proud to support the Arts Center through the GoodGiving Guide Challenge.”

Likewise, Johnson-Pohlmann Insurance Company is putting up a match in support of outreach programs — the Arts Center’s third focus area for the GoodGiving Challenge. Ray Whitehouse, co-owner and agent at Johnson-Pohlmann, says “Johnson-Pohlmann has renewed its commitment to the Arts Center’s school-based art outreach programs this year. These programs help reinforce classroom learning and provide opportunities for students to practice collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking.”

The Arts Center currently has five ongoing programs that bring arts activities to individuals who struggle to come to the Arts Center due to barriers of transportation and physical ability. “Right now, there’s a waiting list for our outreach programs,” Shapiro Haskett says. “Just in the last week, I’ve received calls from three community groups, asking if we can bring art programs to their clients and students. We’ve already doubled our outreach programming over the last year and we’re at capacity. We can’t take on any more groups without additional funding.”

Successfully leveraging matching gifts during the GoodGiving Challenge could provide up to $10,000 in additional funding for the Arts Center. “This is a huge opportunity for us,” says Touchstone. “We’re really excited about what this could mean for the children we serve, but we’re counting on the community to show their support and help us meet those challenges.”

SO YOU KNOW

The GoodGiving Guide Challenge begins  9 a.m. Tuesday. All donations must be made online at www.bggives.org/community-arts-center to be eligible for matching funds.

IF YOU GO

Trees of the Season: Celebrate the Spectrum – presented in partnership with the Special Persons Advocacy Network, the exhibit features trees decorated by community groups serving individuals with disabilities.

My New Kentucky Home, a photography exhibit by Emma Jackson that explores the struggles and triumphs of Kentucky’s resettled refugees.

Exhibits up through Dec. 27, open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays; suggested donation of $5.

Coming Up

Holiday Ceramics Show, —10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 3;  one-day exhibit will feature student work completed in fall adult and youth ceramics classes along with professionally-created pieces by Arts Center instructors. The show is free and open to the public and many pieces will be for sale.

Cookies for Santa Plate Workshop – 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 3, $20 per plate. No registration required. Stop by the Arts Center and an instructor will help you create a special Cookies for Santa plate. Free Christmas cookies for all painters!

Secret Santa Pottery Painting – 3-6 p.m. Dec. 6 and Dec. 9, $20 per child. Drop your kids off at the Arts Center for an hour of supervised pottery painting. After firing, their finished product will come home already wrapped and ready to go under the tree! Register online at communityartscenter.net.

Christmas Tree Plate – 2-4:30 p.m. Dec. 10, $50. Come create a festive holiday serving plate. You can choose from three designs and an Arts Center instructor will help you make a piece that is uniquely yours!

Starry Night Studios — Go from blank canvas to finished masterpiece in a single class. An instructor will guide you, step-by-step. No experience required! Father Christmas – 6:30-9:30 p.m. Dec. 6 , $30; Angel of Love – 7-9 p.m. Dec. 13, $25

To register/see more class offerings, visit communiartscenter.net.