During a special press conference on Wednesday morning, the Cleveland Museum of Art announced a major gift for local kids as one of the final celebrations of its centennial year. As announced this morning, the CMA will donate “Create It Kits” to every third grader in Cuyahoga County. Nearly 14,000 art kits will be distributed to third graders at more than 130 public, charter and parochial schools in Cuyahoga County. That includes 80 schools in Cleveland, as well as 30 school districts and 53 private and parochial schools throughout the county.
“By donating these kits to all third graders in the county, we hope to share the gift of art with as many families as possible and provide them with another creative resource for family learning, just as the museum itself has been for millions of people since its founding 100 years ago,” says William M. Griswold, museum director.
The kits include art supplies, a custom-made “Get Creative” sketchbook with art-making activities, a free children’s “Art Explorers” membership to the museum, five Collection Cards featuring objects from the museum’s permanent collection and a DIY paper glasses cutout inspired by the museum’s prized Portrait of Nathaniel Olds by Jeptha Homer Wade.
“Research indicates that early experiences with art can teach children problem solving, creative thinking and literacy skills,” says Cyra Levenson, the museum’s director of education and academic affairs. “The kits are just one opportunity the museum can provide to help families have fun with art together and to encourage visual expression at an age when many children give up on drawing.”
The gift is a collaborative effort between the museum and several local organizations. The kits are being distributed in partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and the United Way of Greater Cleveland. Additionally, the kits were designed through a partnership between the museum and Cleveland-based American Greetings. The project is also made possible by KeyBank, presenting Sponsor of the museum’s centennial celebration.
“The museum values our northeast Ohio partnerships,” Griswold adds. “Together we are creating a city and region that is a vibrant place to live, learn and create, and the museum is proud to continue to be a resource for the community for a second century.”
These kits are just the latest in a series of gifts from the CMA to the community as part of its centennial year. The museum and United Way partnered to provide 2,000 RTA bus passes to students as well as the Create It Kits to third graders at H. Barbara Booker Elementary and other Cleveland schools participating in United Way’s wraparound initiative, which places a coordinator in each school to help provide students and families with crucial resources.
For more information about the museum’s Create It Kits, visit clevelandart.org/centennial.
(Cleveland Museum of Art) 11150 East Blvd., 216-421-7340, clevelandart.org