Once upon a time, I was speaking with another fellow art teacher who told me how she leased her art classroom from the school in the summer to run a small camp. Inspired by the idea, I decided to do the same and leased my art room at Pine Jog Elementary School in the summer of 2009. My goal was to offer the students in our community an accessible, affordable opportunity for creative summer enrichment. That summer, almost fifty students joined the camp and the seed was planted. In 2010, when planning for the next Pine Jog camp, the name Kids Need More Art was born. In the spring of 2011, our art and nature programs were moved to the Pine Jog Environmental Education Center where programming blossomed due to the natural connections between science, nature, and art. Not only would the programs benefit the local students in the area, they would begin to tap into the unlimited possibilities of an art and science curriculum, while utilizing the captivating 150-acre grounds of Pine Jog.
As these art and nature programs began to take on a world of their own, Kids Need More Art became an official LLC in the fall of 2011, and the desire to teach a qualitative visual arts program in my own community motivated me to find the new studio space in Jupiter, which officially opened in April 2012. This space would not only serve as an intimate place to teach children enriching, inspiring art lessons, but would also become an administrative office for the planning and nurturing of both the Jupiter and ongoing Pine Jog programs.
Creative endeavors can not happen without the people who help plant those seeds, water the soil, and watch it blossom. My gratitude goes out to Fred Barch, Susan Toth, and Kristi Moyer of the Pine Jog family for opening my eyes to the many possibilities that exist when you engage a child in nature and ask them to see more and sense more through the visual arts. It is my hope that our parents and teachers will join us on this journey to encourage, nurture, and protect a child’s creativity by choosing to support the visuals arts as an integral part of our schools’ academic curriculum and community enrichment programs. Thank you for being here.