Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Art program and “good food” for the school kids in Nelsonville - York School District

Sara Gilfert , the art director of Paper Circle mentioned that the current executive director of Paper Circle Barb Campagnola started the art program for children.  Sara said in Nelsonville-York School District, no art is taught in the schools. So Barb along with her colleagues, inaugurated a unique art program for the kids in the area. It’s held every summer. They also collaborated with other studios on the Square so children can enjoy sculpting, painting, papermaking, theater production and many different arts. To me it looked  like an intensive but fun experience for children to learn about arts in thier summer vacation.

Food and fun                                                

Soon Paper Circle artists took their community service to the next level. They also included a “good food” program for the school kids. “There is a real need in the area to learn about what good food is,” Sara said. “This is an economically depressed area and children here are not aware of good food.” 

So they added the food element to the art program. They employ a chef to make food available to children. Also, older students do the “kitchen duty” where they learn how to make nutritious food and how to make it available in large quantities. Older students also get paid a little for their “kitchen duty.” The meals are provided free of cost considering the low income profile of the area.

Changing Artists

Another innovative and thoughtful program offered by Paper Circle is the “Changing Artists” series. Through this series, they invite an artist working with another medium to spend a year at Paper Circle.  Sara mentioned that currently Nancy McCauley, who makes bronze sculptures  (and also a painter,) is exploring the world of paper art at Paper Circle.

I think it’s a great idea to have artists working with other mediums work with paper because it facilitates a crossover of different skills and points of view. The experience can enrich the artist by introducing him/her to a new medium and probably also inspire work in his/her original medium.

Sources of funds for Paper Circle

Paper Circle is a not for profit organization. It gets grant from the Ohio Art Council. They also accept donations. Proceeds from the sale of paper art made by the Paper Circle artists, and a token fee for the workshops, are other minor sources of income.

(This is the last post in the series that covered Paper Circle.)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thank you for bringing attention to an underserved demographic. Appalachian schools are often scrambling for supplies, and it has been proven that exposure to art at a young age increased IQs.
    My question about the "good food" event was if it was about creating foodies, exposing them to healthy food, or was it about exposing them to both?

  3. How would you go about giving to the program?

  4. the "good food" program is really needed in Athens since i went to have dinner in church sometimes and i personally knew some people for whom food is still a problem. this reminds me of the throwing away of the left-over food in dining hall. they definitely should be took advantage of.

  5. I don't know for sure if they accept gifts in kind but one can donate cash and that would qualify as a deduction for income tax purposes becuase its a "not for profit" organization. The food initiative is part of the art program and not a standalone program. I think through this program they are helping to fulfill two important needs of the area children.

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  7. It is very interesting that art is linked to basic physical needs like food in this instance. A 2006 study by an Ohio University researcher gives some more background on the food insecurity of the region and how it is linked to chronic diesease like diabetes. Here is the web address to the study:

  8. As a painter and illustrator myself who was inspired and encouraged to make art by my teachers, it makes me very sad to think that so many kids could be missing out on something that is (to me, at least), so important. Of course I do love to hear that these women are doing what they can to get kids involved in the arts.

  9. Very true Brett! I think they are doing a great job of introducing different arts to those school kids. I cannot even imagine how a school without an art class would hope to nurture and encourage creativity in those school kids. I remember having fun during art classes in the school: an experience of creating something from the scratch.