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In October 2021, the U.S. Department of Education released new guidelines to address increased student mental health concerns. One of the recommendations was to encourage educators to integrate art into students’ time during school.

Art in Action alum Chelsea Stewart couldn’t agree more, “Art in Action day at school was the best day of the week. I remember the excitement and fascination of looking at the various art materials – pastels, color paper, and clay….. And then the anticipation and happiness of creating my art piece.”

Stewart, an emerging visual contemporary artist and a recent BFA graduate from Cal Poly SLO, recalls, “Art in Action sparked my interest in art from a young age. And during the height of COVID, to be able to continue to create art was vital to stay mentally healthy.”

Last year, during COVID, Art in Action delivered art lessons to over 54,000 students, giving them a bubble of calm and normalcy during their virtual school day. Today, 4 months into the new school year, Art in Action serves 184 schools, over 63,000 students; 42% of the schools are designated as Title 1 or under-resourced. The requests for our program increase monthly, especially in communities where Art in Action can help bridge the educational equity gap.

“My favorite memory of Art in Action is from kindergarten and a teacher/parent conference,” Chelsea explained. “We were asked to make a self-portrait at the beginning of the year. Mine was a pink stick figure with yellow hair and blue eyes only covering half the page.” She smiled and shook her head.

“At the end of the year, we were asked to make another self-portrait. And I used geometric shapes, the circle for the head, the rectangle for the body, even the triangle for the pigtails, and a multitude of colors and details,” she exclaimed. “At the conference, seeing the two pieces side-by-side, I could see how much I improved. Not only was I proud of myself, but I also had confidence in my art. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be an artist.”

Please consider making a gift TODAY to ensure that Art in Action is available to any school that requests our transformative and empowering program.

With gratitude and appreciation, the Art in Action Team.

A friendly reminder: The 2020 CARES Act allows individual taxpayers, taking the standard deduction (non-itemizing), an “above the line” charitable income tax deduction up to $300. Please consult your tax advisor with any questions; this is not tax advice.