Local youth receive art kits.

Registered as a nonprofit based in Santa Monica, Give Kids Art aims to provide local children in the area’s underserved communities with programs that give them an opportunity to explore their creative passions.

“Our programs typically run 10 weeks,” Kara Anton, president and founder of Give Kids Art, said this week. And like the first Zoom session held Tuesday with the kids of the Boys & Girls Club at Mar Vista Gardens, Give Kids Art usually holds programs after-school at partner locations.

“It’s been difficult as I’m sure it has been for everyone,” Anton said this week, when she shared how Give Kids Art is ensuring children in the community are still able to express themselves during the quarantine.

“We were saddened early on because we were supposed to start our spring programming on March 16, which is the day that everything pretty much shut down here,” Anton said. “We started to notice a lot of organizations streaming events live online or having virtual Zoom-type programming, but we were concerned that the kids in the communities we usually work with even have access to art supplies at home… let alone the technology.”

Undeterred, Anton said, “we made it a mission to create kits that are full of essential art supplies to help keep these kids entertained at home during a time of great uncertainty.”

Packed with paint brushes, canvases, pencils, crayons, drawing prompts, “and a fun surprise,” the kits provide a number of creative outlets, according to Anton. And if that’s not enough, Give Kids Art has also provided a list of activities that families can do together using nothing more than the kits and household items like old cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls and egg cartons.

“We’re hoping to help as many kids locally as we can, and we invite other organizations to help us with that mission so we can distribute and reach even more,” Anton said, encouraging any organization who facilitates, operates, or works at a place where there are underserved children who need art supplies to visit givekidsart.org/art-kits.

“And, of course, we’re also looking for donors who want to make a difference right now by donating $10 so we can get more art supplies out and make a difference in the life of a child here,” Anton said, adding: families that are looking to donate funds visit GiveKidsArt.org or text “GiveKidsArt” to 44-321.

“Now more than ever, children need the arts to help self-express, cope, imagine and exercise their creativity while at home,” Anton said. “The artist Gerhard Richter said it best. His quote echoes, ‘Art is the highest form of hope.” And during this time, I think we all need a little bit of hope.”


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