This organization decided early on that it would team up with local libraries to avoid the cost associated with purchasing a facility, as well as provide the libraries with free programming.
“We connected all the dots,” said Adarsh Alphons, founder of Project Art. “Funding for art education has declined over last 30 years and program funding in libraries have faced cuts too.”
The non-profit uses it funds through private donations to buy art supplies and pay teachers.
“Art education is essential for kids,” said Alphons. “A lot of society’s problems will be more easily fixed if children receive arts education.”
While the organization does not directly target underprivileged youth, keeping the classes free promotes the idea of serving those who need it.
This program is on a first-come, first-served basis, and 10 students participate in an hour-long class once a week. Project Art officially begins art classes in Brooklyn on October 16 at both the Grand Army Plaza and Bushwick libraries.
“Brooklyn is a very important borough for us and so is Queens because of the diverse community and economic disparities,” said Alphons. “They are the cultural mecca in New York City.”
Last week, representatives from Project Art and the Queens Library held an event to discuss the program in that borough.
“We offer the space to them for free and they offer free classes for library users,” said Sarah Hinkle, assistant coordinator of Children’s Services at Queens Library. “It is a great way to reach the public and offer classes in all varieties.”
The Queens branches that will be included in Project Art and when they will begin have not been determined. However, Hinkle said that Project Art would be featured at two libraries in Queens in February and run for a full 10-weeks.
“I think what makes a public library unique from a school is that we offer a variety of ways for youth to learn,” she said. “Because of how much art is cut at public schools, it is great to provide art classes.”
Alphons said his goal is to bring Project Art to 25 library branches by 2015.
“There are many families warming up to the idea of bring art into their lives,” he said.