Birch Grove Teacher Creates Way to Help Students Show Artistic Side
Students across Brooklyn Center and Brooklyn Park have free access to art supplies now thanks to a Birch Grove Elementary art teacher. Kori Brown noticed many students in her distance learning classes didn’t have the art supplies needed this past spring.
Art Exchange Boxes
In hopes of changing that, Ms. Brown was able to transform old news stands into art exchange boxes. Families can find one art exchange box located permanently at Birch Grove Elementary. The other art box travels throughout Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center.
Each day, Brown refills the art exchange boxes with painting kits, drawing kits, collage kits and more. Each kit is marked with the date it was put in the box so families that may wish to wait before opening for sanitary reasons will be able to do so.
The Birch Grove PTO donated $1,000 for art supplies to fill the boxes. Brown raised $3,000 on an online teacher-only fundraising platform called DonorsChoose.
“Being able to think creatively and being able to create something with supplies they might not have access to all the time, is such a fun and powerful thing,” said Brown. “They become more confident I feel because they can express themselves in a way they might not be able to otherwise.”
Avery Movern, an incoming third-grade student at Birch Grove Elementary, said Ms. Brown helped him find his passion in art.
“I can let my imagination run wild,” said Avery.
Avery visits the art exchange boxes once a week. He also helped named both the boxes. One is called “Billy Bobcat” and the other is “George Bobcat Rocket,” named after George Floyd.
“Because of the remembrance of George Floyd,” said Avery. “Because Black Lives Matter.”
Avery’s mother, Virnell Dickerson-Movern, explained that Avery was one of the students that didn’t have the art supplies needed for his distance learning class.
“It’s a big help to have supplies that are available for kids. Some families aren’t able to go out to Target or Walmart and pick up things just to do art,” said Dickerson-Movern. “It may not be a necessity for some families.”
If community members would like to participate, you can purchase supplies, put them into clear plastic bags marked with the date, and place them into the art exchange boxes. She asks donors to imagine the full artistic experience and create a kit with not just markers, but also paper to draw on.
You can also email Kori Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.