Custom Keepsakes – A Great Way to Commemorate Artist in Residence Program

We promote the Art to Remember fundraiser as a great way to commemorate your students’ artwork and we love hearing stories about what the keepsakes mean to students and parents. Recently, we heard from April Maldonado, Art Teacher at Robinson Elementary in Kirkwood, MO, who used Art to Remember to conclude their Artist in Residence program.

April’s school was very lucky to partake in an Artist in Residence program and bring in two artists from Rwanda. Robinson Elementary’s Christy Berger, REACH teacher, made the connection and organized the trip. April knew the experience would be very valuable to her students on so many levels and wanted them to have a lasting keepsake from the program. She partnered with Art to Remember to give students the opportunity to order keepsake products customized with the artwork they created.

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We talked to April recently and she explained the importance of the Artist in Residence program in their school and how much the keepsake program meant to her students:

Kelly from Art to Remember: Hi April! Thank you for sharing your great idea with other Art to Remember schools. How did you decide that you wanted to bring in an Artist in Residence?
April: Robinson has supported children from the Niyo Cultural Center in Kigali, Rwanda for the past two years. Over that time period, Pacifique Niyonsenga, the founder of the Niyo Cultural Center, has kindly and generously shared his art with us. His artwork is displayed in our library, where it is used for discussion and reflection. We felt like our students would benefit from the opportunity to meet him and we are thankful that all the pieces fell into place for it to happen.

Kelly: How did you choose Pacifique and Tresor?
April: Through our school’s support of their cultural center, we knew they were exceptional dancers, drummers and artists. They provided a very complete experience for our students.

Kelly: What did your students learn from the artists?
April: Robinson students learned about African drumming, dancing and painting styles with Pacifique and Tresor. In terms of the art class, this was in direct alignment with the art history component of our curriculum.

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Kelly: Why is bringing in an outside artist important to you and your students?
April: Seeing various artists’ styles helps students develop an appreciation and understanding for art. Meeting and working with artists while studying the style brings more meaning and value to the experience.

Kelly: How did working with Art to Remember help this process?
April: It gave our students the opportunity to be inspired by the style of Pacifique and Tresor, create a piece of art and then purchase a special keepsake to remember this once in a lifetime opportunity.

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Thank you, April, for giving your students a much bigger view of the world and inspiring them to create beautiful works of art! We hope that others will be inspired by April as well to bring similar programs to their school. An Artist in Residence program is an amazing way to expose students to different cultures and styles of art.

If you are interested in rounding out your Artist in Residence program with an Art to Remember fundraiser, please contact us and we can help you raise funds for your program and create lasting keepsakes for students and their families.