The cost of this proposal is $281, including shipping and <a target="new" href="http://www.donorschoose.org/html/fulfillment.htm" onclick="g_openWindow('http://www.donorschoose.org/html/fulfillment.htm', 300, 800, 'fulfillwindow');return false;">fulfillment</a>.
In many public schools, including my own, art is treated as an extra. It gets relegated to a few classes, once a week, in favor of test-prep curricula developed by private test-prep companies like Kaplan. In my own junior high school in East New York, Brooklyn, we have 1100 students and no art teachers. Many of our students struggle academically but excel artistically, yet we have no drama program, and just one music teacher for the entire student body. As far as art class is concerned, many students never have the chance to move beyond rudimentary cartoon drawings.
This issue is about more than just stagnating talent: Each year, eighth graders in New York City schools apply to high schools across the city, including schools that specialize in the arts. Each year, eighth graders from my school trudge off to portfolio reviews with pencil sketches of muscular action figures on looseleaf. They have little chance of competing with their better-off peers who have spent months compiling polished portfolios.
This year I was struck by the talent of one of my seventh graders. We made totem poles during our unit on Native Americans, and his totem pole was extraordinary. Every visitor to my classroom comments on his use of color and perspective. During lunch one day I invited students to stay in my room to make holiday cards, and again, his creativity and use of color was striking.
This young man and several other students, are in desperate need of the opportunity to apply to specialized high schools that focus on fine arts, but they will never be able to do so without portfolios. I have decided to begin an afterschool art program to help a small group of students prepare portfolios with which to apply to specialized high schools.
In order to create the required pieces of work we will need certain materials, including special pencils and pens, sketchbooks, pastels and watercolors. Unfortunately, my students cannot afford to purchase these supplies, and while I am providing some supplies, I can't afford to provide all of them, either.
With your help, a small group of junior high school students from Brooklyn will have the chance to develop their artistic abilities and maybe, one day, attend a top-rated high school.
I am requesting sketch pads, pencils, pastels and newsprint pads for each student, as well as several drawing boards that will be reused in future years.
Thank you very much for your help.
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