The Woodson Art Museum’s longstanding commitment to after-school outreach programming extends beyond the school year. Since 2012, the Museum has participated in the Wausau School District’s Community Connection program providing afternoon hands-on art experiences for students enrolled in summer school. The Covid-19 quarantine necessitated that school buildings close and classroom learning be moved online, which in turn, meant community organizations were unable to deliver after-school programs for students in person. Early summer Zoom meetings with School District staff and community partners enabled the group to consider options and strategize ways to deliver meaningful and fun activities for students. We determined that weekly activity kits for elementary school students and their siblings offered an achievable alternative with District staff and Americorps volunteers willing to coordinate the logistics and distribution of activity kits.
Taking inventory of available art materials proved to be a quarantine-friendly activity for me working solo in education storage, counting supplies, and developing project ideas for summer art kits. Museum collection artwork images, printed with information and prompts on “kids club cards” were the source of inspiration for the five art kits. The Art Museum typically serves about 300 Community Connection participants each year and this summer that translated into out preparing 375 art projects to serve students and their families.
On June 8, Museum facilities manager Dave Jones and I took advantage of the Museum’s van capacity to deliver the impressive haul of art-kit filled bags to G.D. Jones Elementary School where they would be added to the generous and varied activity kits from other local organizations like the Monk Botanical Gardens, Woodson History Center, Center for the Visual Arts, Wausau and Marathon County Parks and Recreation Department, and Boys & Girls Club of the Wausau Area.
The Woodson Art Museum’s summer of art kits continues with the creation of rangoli-inspired paper project kits available for visitors to take with them after enjoying Many Visions, Many Versions in the galleries and the rangoli created by staff in the lower level.
Longtime Museum docent and recent visitor Pam Frary picked up art kits and shared a photo of the three-generational projects she completed with her daughter and granddaughter.
Have you picked up an art kit this summer? If you’d like to show off your rangoli-inspired creation, take a photo of your ﬁnished artwork and share it on social media, tagging the Woodson Art Museum @WoodsonArt.