Volunteers launch art enrichment programs for underprivileged

Sophie Kupiec-Weglinski

Justin Carr’s Dare to Dream Project took its fourth trip Saturday to Frank D. Parent Elementary School in Inglewood to lead art classes. The day focused on how to make collages.

Justin Carr ’14, who died last February, believed that “art is very important to have as a child develops,” Carr’s mother Susan said. He was introduced to Eleanor Wallace, a math teacher at the elementary school who spends much of her free time tutoring students after school during the summer of 2012. Carr promised to bring BLACC and other students from the Harvard-Westlake community to tutor on Saturdays. After Carr’s death last February, the Dare to Dream Project was founded in his memory.

This year, Danielle Stolz ’15 and Katie Hohl ’15 will lead the workshops.

“We arrived, not really knowing what to expect, but ended up loving the experience,” Stolz said. “Not only were we able to play and get to know these younger kids, but it really was about learning how to be in a leadership position and teach a class yourself.”

In prior trips to the elementary school, all the art projects were designed by the students. Hohl and Stolz chose to work with oil-based pastels and water colors with the children. Children got to work with “black magic,” where they painted a paper with many different colors and put a topcoat of black paint. When the paint dried, the children could scratch through the black paint and reveal the color below with plastic forks or toothpicks. Children were able to apply this “magic” onto greeting cards for important people in their life.

“Kids love making art,” visual arts teacher Marianne Hall said. “It was really sweet, and we had a very good time.”

Throughout the three previous trips students worked with fourth, fifth and sixth graders. Each class had 40-60 children each, with four to six students teaching. The program may be expanding to kindergarteners as well, Hall said.

The art projects varied throughout grade levels, with more advanced projects such as figure drawing done with older children.

 A principal from an elementary school in Chatsworth has contacted Harvard-Westlake asking for students to come and paint a mural for the school. Like Frank D. Parent Elementary, this school’s art programs have also been cut.

“It’s a learning experience for these kids, but also for yourself,” Stolz said. “It’s a really great to teach these underprivileged kids who don’t get to have an art class within their education, and it’s also a lot of fun. We play music, do some art, and make some new friends along the way.”