Art-To-Go, Children's Art is Alive and Well


Last updated 11/3/2020 at 9:42am

Real time, hands-on, tangible, failure-proof and fun art projects are being provided to the students of Borrego Springs Elementary and Middle-School through the support and efforts of the ASES program under the direction of artist and teacher Leslie Duncan.

ASES (After-School Education and Safety) is a program funded by the state, which in normal times, provides a safe, supervised place for kids between dismissal time and when parents get home from work. Activities include academic support (help with homework), physical activities and cultural enrichment.

When the pandemic caused the schools to close their classrooms in March, learning became restricted to at-home online lessons and send-home lesson packets which were either picked up at the schools or delivered with meals to the students' homes.

Duncan had been organizing and teaching the ASES After-school Art Program since its inception in 2006, providing our kids with inspiring projects and materials two afternoons each school week. Sign-in attendance ranged regularly from 20 to 40 each meeting.

Principal Sherrilynn Polanco suggested coming up with a plan by which a simple yet rewarding little art project could be sent home along with the meals and lessons. The challenge was creating projects that would be complete in each send-home kit; knowing that every student does not have access to tools like scissors, glue, and tape at home.

By researching project idea websites and supply catalogs (and her own vivid imagination) for inspiring projects that required a few simple and cost-effective materials, Duncan came up with nine diverse activities at 100 units per week, sending home 900 "Art-to-Go" kits in brown paper lunch bags through mid-June. Feedback from the children and parents has been amazing and always positive. One mother reported that her little girl waited anxiously by the door each week to receive her little art kit.

Duncan has been hired directly by the Borrego Springs Unified School District to continue providing the Art-to-Go program, which has now been expanded into the Middle School grades.

Beginning November 1, an average of 130 kits will be produced and distributed to students from preschool to eighth grade each week. Funding for materials and supplies is provided by the school district and several community service organizations such as the Rotary Club, the Art Guild, and private citizens. Plans are for over 1,200 kits to go out by late January. Art supplies are costly.

Donations are encouraged and tax-deductible. Monetary donations may be made to The Borrego Springs Art Guild, P.O. Box 1643, Borrego Springs. Donations of materials or supplies are always welcome; please contact Leslie Duncan (760-532-5129) for pick-up, at this time there is no drop-off site available.

Kids need art. Art heals and nourishes.

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