Macy’s recently awarded a $2,500 grant to the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College for its After School Art program.
The grant provides funds to supplement the certified art teacher’s stipend for the fall session, and purchase art supplies such as clay, paint and craft materials for more than 500 participants throughout the school year.
All students have access to instruction, use of the museum’s classroom facilities, equipment and supplies, and take home the artwork they produce. This program is free for museum members, and nonmembers pay $5 per child.
“We’re grateful for the support Macy’s provides for the program,” said Ellen Chastain, the museum’s education manager. “These classes are a good entryway for children and their parents or guardians to learn together.”
The museum has offered After School Art for more than 15 years. Its objective is for children ages 5-12 and their parents and guardians to learn new art techniques and create art together. Macy’s has sponsored the program for three years.
After School Art has tripled its attendance since its inception. It began with routine attendance of 20 to 25 people. The current session, which began Sept. 25, has about 60 attendees per class, and requires the use of two classrooms.
Chastain also uses the program as a training ground for aspiring art teachers. She has worked with Polk State College and University of South Florida art education majors in the past to teach the classes. Due to Florida Southern’s recent affiliation with the museum, she will work with their art education majors to teach After School Art in the spring.
“We view this as a valuable professional development element because it presents an opportunity to teach in a nontraditional atmosphere,” Chastain said. “I’m pleased to say that our last two After School Art instructors went on to be hired by the Polk County School District.”
After School Art has two six-week sessions per year. Classes are held 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Mondays. The current session ends Oct. 30. The spring session runs Feb. 5 through March 12. Registration is not required. To learn more, visit the museum’s website: https://polkmuseumofart.org/after-school.
About the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College
The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida, is a private, not-for-profit academic museum dedicated to promoting inspirational and engaging arts experiences for all. It is one of the Top 10 art museums in the State of Florida, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the only art museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums serving the 561,000 residents of Polk County. Museum hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays – Saturdays; 1-5 p.m. Sundays (closed Sundays June 1 through Labor Day) and closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is free for everyone year-round, thanks to the following organizations and individuals: MIDFLORIDA Credit Union; the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Foundation; a Friend of the Community; and Southern Homes. The Museum is fully accessible.