Get Ready to Have an Adventure!
For more than 120 years, Fleisher Art Memorial has served Philadelphia’s families and young art artists through its venerable tuition-free and low-cost art programs. The emergence of COVID-19 has forced Fleisher to cancel and re-examine its on-site programming, particularly for the city’s most vulnerable populations. In partnership with Philadelphia Office of Children and Families’ (OCF) Out-of-School Time (OST), Fleisher recently launched Art Adventures, an anthology of free, age-appropriate art lessons that can be completed with easily obtained supplies.
To support the Art Adventures effort, Fleisher, through the generosity of its supporters, assembled and delivered nearly 4,000 “art care kits,” containing an array of art making supplies and additional materials. The kits were distributed through nearly 150 partner sites and events led by ColorWheels, Fleisher’s mobile arts studio.
“Opportunities to engage with the arts and artists are vitally important for our city’s children,” says Cynthia Figueroa, the City’s Deputy Mayor for Children and Families. “OCF is proud to partner with Fleisher to provide art materials and instruction to students enrolled in our free City-sponsored OST programs. This partnership has brought a bright point to our OST community while the stay-at-home order has been in effect. We are excited to see how this virtual program can have a broader impact by bringing Fleisher’s quality art education to a wider audience.”
Delivered weekly through late August on Fleisher’s YouTube channel, Art Adventures is a series of pre-recorded, 60-minute art lessons envisioned by Fleisher’s resourceful teaching artists. Each lesson is divided into three 20-minute chapters, which allows young artists to work at their own pace. While introducing young artists to technical skills and broader concepts, the lessons also explore themes of health, wellness, and identity while encouraging the development of individual creativity.
Lessons are suitable for young artists in kindergarten through eighth grade, with a number available in Spanish. The activities explore work by Black and Queer artists, traditional papier-mâché methods in the context of Mexican heritage, and protest posters steeped in the ideals of the Celebrate People’s History Poster Series, among others. Teenage artists are encouraged to explore Fleisher’s Teen Lounge, a free, drop-in program that typically meets after school Monday through Wednesday. Teen Lounge, celebrating its 10th year of operation in 2020, has shifted to meeting virtually, but its young artists continue to engage in thematic projects they select themselves through a proposal process.