The Issue: Lack of Access to the Arts
Despite the opportunities in Seattle’s vibrant arts community, barriers to experiencing these remain for underserved residents. Across Washington, 13.9% of people had incomes below the poverty line in 2011, according to a report by the US Census Bureau. For families with low incomes, transportation and the cost of entry can impede their children’s access to the arts. Yet seeing a play or studying a sculpture at a museum can give them a source of inspiration and a goal to aspire toward.
The Campaign: Teaching Youth About Art Creation
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Nature Consortium to send students on a field trip to experience professional art. For every $150 raised, Nature Consortium can send 10 students on a cultural field trip as part of its Youth Art Program. The Youth Art Program provides 300 days of out-of-school classes at two local housing communities: Rainier Vista and Yesler Terrace. Through regular field trips to concerts, dance performances, and museums, students study everything from traditional arts and dance to culinary and urban arts. Viewing these works can make art creation into a tangible experience, helping inform students’ own art and encouraging them to use it as a tool for improving their communities.
Nancy Whitlock deals in the ineffable. After becoming a stay-at-home mom, she yearned for a connection to her neighborhood. One day, she was making cards using swatches of fabric and colored pencil, and got the idea to host an art festival on her block with the theme “What Is Your Art?” Neighbors came together and shared quilts, paintings, photography, and kids activities. Still not satisfied, though, Nancy hosted an even bigger festival in Lincoln Park the following year to celebrate the connection between art and nature. From there, she expanded even further to offer programs as Nature Consortium.
The Arts in Nature Festival continues today from Camp Long. Every year, people return to view musical performances and multimedia presentations in the woods and take part in naturalist activities in the meadow. In addition to the festival, Nature Consortium connects people to art and nature through two primary programs: Urban Forest Restoration Project and the Youth Art Program. The Youth Art Program provides out-of-school training in painting, music, culinary arts, urban arts, and dance, whereas the Urban Forestry Restoration Project sponsors volunteer parties to remove invasive species and plant native trees while local musicians play. Nature Consortium’s regular events also connect people with art and nature through wine tasting in the woods, an art walk, and outdoor indie-film nights.
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