Off the Canvas

Off the Canvas was started in 2009 as a way to help expose children to art/craft.  Motivated by art/craft as a child herself, Alissa wanted a way for kids in her 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 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.  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.