Art Supplies for the Holidays | Teachers College Columbia University

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Art Supplies for the Holidays

TC’s Arts Administration program put together bags of materials for neighbors in shelters and for an arts nonprofit

Students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered to assemble gift bags for Art Start students and their moms
Students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered to assemble gift bags for Art Start students and their moms
“It’s one thing to say you should be aware of privilege in your life and another to show it by using that privilege to help others,” says Jennifer Lena.  

Lena, Associate Professor of Arts Administration and Director of TC’s Arts Administration Program (ARAD), is a strong believer that lessons like that one, which typically occur outside the classroom, are the most important. To that end, during the run-up to the holidays, Lena and Lecturer Gemma Mangione led a Holiday Service Project for ARAD faculty, students, staff, and alumni to help to those in need during the winter holidays. Some 60 student-assembled bags of art supplies were delivered in early December to mothers and children served by Art Start, a lower Manhattan-based non-profit that provides art programs to at-risk youth, residents of city shelters and parents in crisis.

Peter Huang with students at Groove with Me
Peter Huang with students at Groove with Me
Generous contributions by ARAD partners Blick Art Materials, DaVinci Art Supply, the Artist and Craftsman and Jerry’s Pallette Shop led to a separate donation of boxed art materials for Art Start to use with other clients.  

On the performance side of the arts ledger, ARAD students began by raising funds to support Groove with Me, the East 123rd Street program that uses dance to promote healthy eating and lifestyles for at-risk young women.

First-year students Jordan Carter, Peter Huang, Allason Leitz, and Angelica Tran elevated the effort to another level by visiting the Groove with Me studio to share their thoughts on art, learning and careers in performance.

ARAD in the process learned of another pressing need: The absence of a drinking fountain at Groove with Me, a space where exercise and hydration go hand-in-hand. 

“It turns out the cost of a drinking fountain is only $500,” says Lena. “So I said, ‘We’re absolutely doing that. I’ll pay for it out of my own pocket if I have to.’”

The offer proved unnecessary as student, faculty and private donations covered the expense.

The upshot heading into the holiday break:

Groove with Me studio will soon have a drinking fountain.

Art Start clients will have no shortage of supplies.

And ARAD students will return to TC in January with a keener understanding of how the best lessons often occur outside the classroom. – Steve Giegerich

Published Friday, Dec 22, 2017