ArtSpark Ignites Opportunities for Kids to Make Art in Schools

ArtSpark Auction & Gala: April 24th, 2020 at The Shedd Institute

Tickets here or call (541) 485-2278

Through the ArtSpark initiative, a project of Lane Arts CouncilThe Rotary Club of EugeneEugene Education Foundation, and Eugene School District 4J, over 7,400 4J elementary students have worked hands-on with a professional artist in the classroom this school year.

The ArtSpark initiative was born from a shared goal to ensure that every elementary student in the Eugene School District 4J has the opportunity to receive high-quality arts education through Lane Arts Council’s artist residency program.

For the 2018-2019 school year, all twenty 4J elementary schools had the opportunity to host two artist residencies with Lane Arts Council’s professional teaching artists. Artists serve the entire school, interacting with each classroom at least four times to create ceramic sculptures, puppets, murals, and more at no cost to the students or school.

Three years ago The Rotary Club of Eugene hosted the inaugural ArtSpark benefit at The Shedd Institute for the Arts, raising significant funds to expand arts education programs for the following school year. On April 24th, 2020, The Rotary Club of Eugene and Lane Arts Council will host the fourth annual ArtSpark Gala and Auction, where community members will come together over food, drink, and art in support of this important cause. Highlights in the auction will include art by Sally Schwader, Jerry Ross, Heather Halpern, Jenny Gray, Patti McNutt, Robert Canaga, Connie Mueller, Shanna Trumbly, Anne Teigen, Marjorie Feldman, Chris Pontrelli, Holly Wilson, Kristina Rust, and other much-loved local artists, as well as staycations, getaways, and special experiences like a Suite Night at the Eugene Emeralds’ PK Park, two nights and golf at the Running Y Lodge, a High Country Expeditions Rafting Trip, and more. Student art pieces, also available for auction, are always the best auction item to take home!

Gustavo Balderas, the superintendent of Eugene School District 4J, strongly supports the ArtSpark initiative. “We are extremely pleased to be involved in this partnership to provide an opportunity for all of our elementary schools to have an artist in residence,” says Balderas.

“A collaboration such as this truly enables our collective resources to impact the most students as possible.”

“The Rotary Club of Eugene prides itself in the ability to create community partnerships,” says Pete Gribskov, longtime Rotarian. “We feel that this project will have the same lasting impact in the community as our many other projects have accomplished.”

Cesar Chavez teacher Ms. Kehe shares, “Last week when Noah McLain Philpot, our ArtSpark artist, came in for our afternoon puppetry session, I warned him that the class was having a hard time focusing and listening. While they were a little squirrelly for his introduction, every single one of my students was engaged in creating their artwork. The mood in the room was light and active. Student ideas and brains were firing. Without even realizing it, my students were going through the creative process. They created a plan, implemented it, adapted it along the way, and will finish with a unique product they can call their own. There were no wrong answers or mistakes to correct, just opportunity to exercise creativity and change. Exposure to this process gives students practice with what to do when things don’t go as planned in their lives. It teaches them flexibility and helps them view problems they face in their lives in new ways. Art allows student brains to think more freely and become good problem solvers, a very important life skill. Whatever the art form that students get exposed to during the ArtSpark program, we teachers can feel it make a difference in our classrooms.”