Macy’s recently awarded a $2,500 grant to the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College for its After School Art Family Program. This 12-session series of fall and spring classes is offered to children of all abilities ages 5-12, and their parents or guardians.
Specifically, the grant provides funds to supplement the certified art teacher’s stipend for the fall session and purchase art supplies for over 500 participants throughout the school year. All students have access to instruction, use of the museum’s classroom facilities, equipment and supplies, and are able to take home whatever artwork they produce. This program is free of charge for museum members, and nonmembers pay a nominal fee of $5 per child.
“We’re grateful for the support Macy’s provides for the program,” said Ellen Chastain, the museum’s education manager. “These classes are a good introduction for parents or guardians and their children to learn about art and artmaking together.”
The museum has offered After School Art for more than 15 years. Its objective is for children and their parents or guardians to learn new art techniques and create their own theme-based art projects. Macy’s has been a generous supporter of the program for the past three years.
After School Art has tripled its attendance since its inception. It began with a routine attendance of 20 to 25 people. The current session, which began Sept. 25, has approximately 60 attendees per class, and requires the use of two classrooms.
Chastain also uses the program as a training ground for aspiring art teachers. She has worked with Polk State College and University of South Florida art education majors in the past to teach the classes. Due to Florida Southern College’s recent affiliation with the museum, she will work with their art education majors to teach After School Art in the spring.
“We view this as a valuable professional development element because it presents an opportunity to teach in a nontraditional atmosphere,” Chastain said. “I’m pleased to say that our last two After School Art instructors went on to be hired by the Polk County School District.”
After School Art has two six-week sessions per year. Classes are held 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Mondays. The current session ends Oct. 30. The spring session runs Feb. 5 through March 12. Registration is not required. To learn more, visit the the After School Art page.