Special Delivery: Piedmont Arts Provides Art Supplies to Local Preschools

Piedmont Arts Education Coordinator Becki Williams Vasquez delivers art supplies and learning aides to Happy Feet Early Learning and Child Center on Wednesday, April 25, as part of the museum’s ARTStart Initiative. Pictured (L-R): Becki Williams Vasquez, Happy Feet Owner Shirley Williams and Assistant Teacher Marrissa Gregory.  

Piedmont Arts delivered five boxes of art supplies and learning aides to Happy Feet Early Learning and Child Center on Wednesday. The purchase of these supplies was made possible through the museum's ARTStart Initiative, which is designed to enhance accessibility to the arts for children up to age five.

ARTStart is a partnership between Piedmont Arts and Smart Beginnings Martinsville-Henry County, and is funded through a $10,000 Pick Up the Pace (PUP) grant from Harvest Foundation.

To date, more than 500 children have been impacted through Piedmont Arts’ ARTStart programming and, in the coming weeks, a total of six area child care providers will receive special deliveries of art supplies, toys, games and other learning aides, as part of the program. These supplies will help area child care programs achieve higher scores and recognition in the Virginia Quality Rating and Improvement System, which offers resources and support for participating child care centers, preschools and family child care homes statewide. In addition to Happy Feet, child care providers who will receive supplies include, Stanleytown Elementary Head Start, Clearview Head Start, YMCA Early Learning Center, Sanville Elementary Virginia Preschool Initiative and Refuge Temple Head Start.

Not only does ARTStart provide art materials for preschool classrooms, but over the past year the program has also offered art-making events at the museum and in the community; preschool performances in the Piedmont Arts galleries; free family days; and professional development opportunities to help child care providers and educators incorporate process art, music and dramatic play into their lesson plans and curricula.

“We are proud of the success of the ARTStart Initiative,” said Education Coordinator Becki Williams Vasquez. “Local students and teachers have been positively impacted by this program, through events and professional development activities. We are excited to see area child care providers take part in this initiative and to see them instilling a love of art and learning in their students.”

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