For me, teaching art to kids in the community was always about teaching art skills in a fun relaxed atmosphere, building self-confidence and self-esteem while building artwork. Only later did I realize that I was “green” long before I knew quite what the term meant.
I mean, how many other suburban moms have a green bin in front of their garage so neighbors could drop off their corrugated boxes, broken crayons, magazines, or foam egg cartons? Still, once the green movement spread, so did my commitment to green art to the point where the first thing I do when a child takes my class is teach them the 4 R’s; Reduce, Recycle, Reuse… Recreate.
I bought the bus in the fall 2010. In retrospect, that was the easy part. It took months to convert the bus so it felt like mine. I had the seats ripped out and scrubbed (and I mean scrubbed) the inside. I painted the walls and painted the floors, going about making it like my studio. I had countertops custom-made along with shelves and storage units. On the outside, I had all the school bus paraphernalia removed and then had the outside both painted and “wrapped.”
Maybe the most challenging part was negotiating the bureaucracy so I could legally take the bus on the road. It meant multiple visits to motor vehicles and trying to sound sane talking with an insurance person.
There were safety issues as well, of course. I needed to find a mechanic to give the bus an overhaul. And then some. I also had to make sure to secure the projects and supplies and stackable chairs while the bus was moving.
And then there were things I didn’t think of.
Like the challenges of driving a big school bus on the highways and local roads of the New York tri-state area.
Oh, and figuring where this suburban mama parks a big old school bus? (As a local policeman said kindly to me long after I had actually bought the bus, ‘You didn’t think of that before you purchased the vehicle, ma’am?”
The bus was ready by the spring 2011 for an Arbor Day celebration at a nearby Whole Foods.
I do festivals, I do awareness-raising events, I do parties, I go wherever I can to spread the love of art and the environment. After going through the 4 R’s, each child works on either his or her own “ARTrageous Recyclables” project or a free-style “Trash to Treasure” creation. “Enhancing Creativity, Reducing Waste”: that’s my motto and my approach with the kids. My hope is that these activities will encourage them to live a greener lifestyle.
The FunArt Bus is ready to roll into your neighborhood – to bring EcoArt to your schools, camps, businesses, and homes. April begins our second season. And April means Earth Awareness Month, with Earth Week (April 16-22) and Earth Day on the 22nd. Coincidence? I think not.
Let’s make EVERY day EARTH day! http://www.yougottahaveart.org/the-fun-art-bus/
Recycle. Recreate. A Change You Can Make. Let’s Raise Awareness Together.