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NELA Arts Council debuts 'Start With Art' program

B. Foy
Arrow Public Art

The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council will begin distributing Start With Art kits to almost 600 children in kindergarten through fifth grade as part of a pilot program development by the Arts Council.

This program provides creative resources for children in Title I schools. Students at Berg Jones Elementary and Riser Elementary will be receiving kits that include basic art supplies from colored pencils, regular crayons, multicultural crayons, glue sticks, paintbrushes, and watercolors, sidewalk chalk, modeling clay, sketch pads, construction paper and watercolor paper. All supplies are contained in a carrying/storage container to keep items together and organized.

Funding for this pilot program has been provided through a Junior League Endowment Grant from the Junior League of Monroe.

The idea behind this pilot program is to assist in addressing the critical need for access to the arts for children at an early age. Early arts education has been a neglected issue not only in northeast Louisiana, but state-wide and nationally. The Arts Council strongly believes the arts improve mental health, sustain social and emotional learning, while also increasing academic success. Access to the arts aids in cultivating lifelong skills including collaboration, communication, critical thinking, innovation, creativity, and problem solving.

Inspired by a similar art box pilot program administered by the Texas Cultural Trust, the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council launched Start With Art as part of its “Arts in Education” and “Access to the Arts for All” initiatives.

Distribution of kits will take place Wednesday, November 10th at 9:00am at Berg Jones Elementary in Monroe and Tuesday, November 16th at 9:00am at Riser Elementary in West Monroe.