LEOMINSTER — The city and school have recently been showing the community how much they care about education by supporting it in one of the most tangible ways – by providing supplies for free. And now a local artist is trying to contribute in the same way.
Art on the Rocks, a pottery and ceramics studio in Twin City Plaza, is organizing a raffle and fundraising so she can provide free art supplies to a handful of local teachers.
“Often art programs are the first cut,” said Stacey Sparrow, owner of the Art on the Rocks. “It’s a cool way to support local art programs in our public schools.”
As an incentive, Sparrow is offering a chance at free pottery painting for a year as a raffle prize for anyone who donates by purchasing from their Amazon wishlist before the end of August.
The supplies collected will be given to a few lucky local art teachers. Teachers can be nominated on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ArtontheRocksma/ for the rest of the month.
“Art education is really a fundamental part of everything we do from problem solving to thinking independently and observational skills. There’s so many things we take away from art that we use in our daily lives even as adults. At a bare minimum, I think it’s important to have an option for something relaxing in the often busy school day for these kids”, Sparrow said.
Art on the Rocks tries to give back to the community as much as possible. Knowing there are lots of different businesses and organizations doing drives for traditional school supplies, Sparrow thought back to her time teaching art education in schools and how very small an art teacher’s budget is, so she thought to facilitate some art supplies instead.
“I’ve always considered myself more of a teacher than an artist and I really just enjoy helping others to create art. I think it’s important for everyone to have an outlet and art can be that for anyone regardless of age or skill level,” she said.
They are hoping to stock at least three local art rooms with the supply drive.
On the Amazon wishlist, Sparrow has “specifically chosen items that local art teachers can use in their curriculum to meet [state standards]”, Sparrow said. The wishlist is “loaded up with fun options people can purchase and they will ship directly to us.” People are also welcome to purchase items on and off the list and bring them to the Art on the Rocks studio.
“These are things they wouldn’t normally have access to in a regular school budget,” Sparrow stated.
She added, “Local art programs in our school provide so much for children, just from an opportunity to get creative and messy to something as important as a therapeutic release. So many of us use art to calm ourselves in the busy day-to-day hustle and bustle.”
Any donation, small or large, is useful and makes the donor eligible for the raffle, whether one item or many, with no one obligated to buy large items to participate, Sparrow said. The raffle provides free pottery painting for a whole year, with the winner being able to paint one piece every month; the only restriction is that the pieces must be painted in the studio.
The response so far has been “great — we have a wonderful core community of regular guests who support us” Sparrow said, with items being purchased from the day the drive began. Word of mouth has been helpful to get the art supply drive and raffle known by more people and Sparrow hopes that media coverage spreads it further.
She explained that incentivizing doing art with a raffle is their way of “adding value for others and giving them a little bonus” for helping out a small business trying to do something positive for the local community.
Supplies will be delivered to the selected recipients during the first week of school directly to their art classrooms. The raffle winner will also be announced on their Facebook page during the first school week.
Although this is only the first year that Art on the Rocks has run an art supply drive, Sparrow says she’d like to see it be successful enough to make it “an annual endeavor.”
Items can be purchased on Amazon.com.
The Art on the Rocks studio offers walk-ins for pottery, ceramics, and wood signs as well as art classes and workshops for adults and children with a variety of materials and techniques (including acrylics and being the only studio certified to teach the Bob Ross method), private parties for all ages, and adults-only special events at their locations in Leominster and Gardner.
Learn more about Art on the Rocks on their website at artontherocksma.com.