Off the Canvas was started in 2009 as a way to help expose children to Non-traditional art/craft. I was motivated by art/craft as a child myself, and wanted a way for kids in the community to experience that as well. The purpose of the program is to cultivate a sustained awareness and interest in art/craft by exposing children to a variety of artists, craft people and mediums.
Off the Canvas includes 550 students in Pre-K through 8th Grade. Entirely run by volunteers, the program highlights the benefits students reap from learning about non-traditional art/craft. Art/craft is all around us, from the clothes you wear, to the building you stand in, to the dish you eat from. There are roots to everything in our lives that connects us to Art/Craft. The importance of learning to appreciate art/craft early in life is often overlooked and undervalued. It encourages exploration, self-expression, logical thinking, self-esteem, individuality, imagination and creativity. Art/craft teaches children to think openly, create new meaning, be more tolerant of uniqueness, and gives them the self-confidence to take risks.
Once a month, classroom volunteers present a various display of arts and crafts to the class through the use of library books, posters, laptop computers and/or the Promethean board. After the presentation, the volunteers provide a hands-on art or craft project that coincides with what the students have learned. At the end of the year, we hold Off the Canvas Live! a fully interactive night of the arts which showcases the art/craft projects students have created throughout the year.