Making a Dark Time Colorful: Donors Continue Supporting St. Joseph’s Art Classes during Pandemic

Rachel, St. Joseph’s art teacher (right), demonstrates to a student how objects found in nature can be used as tools to create art.

Before the start of the 2020-21 school year, St. Joseph’s Indian School’s art teacher, Rachel, said she was worried what her classroom might look like.

“The arts can sometimes get overlooked by the general public during a normal time, so with the addition of a pandemic, I worried I was not going to have all the supplies I needed,” she said. “But, I’m so glad I worried for nothing.”

Donations of art supplies have been pouring in at St. Joseph’s and it’s brought deep breaths of relief to Rachel and students. Rachel noted one donor sent enough sketchbooks for each of her fourth graders to have one of their very own, which made them extra excited.

“They were like, ‘Do we get to keep these!? This is the best day of my life!’ and it was so fun to see them so excited and eager to use them,” said Rachel.

Colorful paints, yarn, colored pencils and more have also been donated and are filling the art room, which has allowed Rachel to host fun projects for students. Most recently, students participated in a texture lesson where they made paintbrushes out of unordinary objects and got their hands right in the thick of it all.

Students love getting their hands dirty while creating art.

“Kids need hands-on, messy art,” said Rachel. “Honestly, now more than ever.”

Along with helping children develop fine and gross motor skills, art can be very therapeutic — especially for children. During the extended leave last spring, Rachel had to host online art lessons. These were still educational and fun, but they lacked that extra sensory element of touch. Now that children are back at St. Joseph’s and classes are in session, children can once again work through an art project in-person, and experience healing, or just a slower pace to regroup and center.

With warmer weather, students were able to enjoy creating art projects outdoors.

“With all that is going on in the world around us, now more than ever I feel it’s important to have art,” said Rachel.

Unfortunately, not every classroom across the country has this same opportunity. Budget cuts due to COVID-19 have electives, music and art classes often getting pushed to the backburner. In other art circles Rachel is a part of, she said so many are scrambling with tight budgets and an even smaller supply set. She feels so thankful for St. Joseph’s and donors who continue to support the needs of her classroom.

Proud kids hold up their creations after a fun art class with Rachel!

“It’s really nice to work somewhere where people value the arts and that I have access to such great supplies,” said Rachel. “I’m really humbled by how many people have remembered the arts during this time. It’s just been awesome!”

Philámayayethank you — to all the art lovers who continue to support St. Joseph’s Indian School. Rachel and her students think of you every time they pick up a colored pencil, brush or sketchbook.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

2 thoughts on “Making a Dark Time Colorful: Donors Continue Supporting St. Joseph’s Art Classes during Pandemic”

  1. I agree. Art is one way to take the children’s minds off of what’s going on it today’s world. It’s good that they can put their focus on something more pleasant.

  2. Art is a very important part of life. There are various forms and the best is self expression whether by paint, clay, ice, sand or just about any thing. Using various mediums teaches that art is shown in most any thing. I thank you for sharing this important aspect in the precious lives of the children at St. Joseph’s. Art is one class that has been ‘bumped out’ of several schools and the children miss sooo much. Thank you Rachel for doing what you do.

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