Art Lessons That Think Inside the Box

By Sarika Chawla

community news

Lessons from The Art Box Academy come with all supplies, and focus on education and inspiration. PHOTO COURTESY ART BOX ACADEMY

When a friend bemoaned the limited art instruction options for her son in their school and community, Lauren Perelmuter, founder of Art to Grow On Children’s Art Center, sent the boy a Frank Lloyd Wright lesson in a box. His mom was so thrilled that she brought the program into her second-grade classroom, and The Art Box Academy was born.

Art to Grow On offers mobile art classes in schools, parks and other areas throughout Southern California. The Art Box Academy, launched in 2015 to meet demand from families and schools outside the region Art to Grow On serves, is a collection of of 12 boxed art lessons that can be mailed anywhere. Each box contains a biography and history of the artist – from Cézanne to Warhol – along with supplies and tips to help kids craft their own works of art.

“Over the years, I feel there’s been a shift in awareness of the importance of integrated arts, innovation and creativity,” says Perelmuter. However, she points out that even when she first launched her company 16 years ago, schools were cutting back on their arts curricula, creating a need for outside enrichment programs.

Each packaged lesson is tailored to be age-appropriate, from 18 months through high school, though the majority of the focus is on kids ages 10 and younger.

Individual boxes, which have become especially popular as gifts, for parties and among homeschooling families, are $34.95. School lessons are about $10 each for a minimum of 18 students. All the supplies are provided and lessons include an emphasis on both education and inspiration. All are available at www.theartboxacademy.com.

“It’s not a paint-by-numbers kit,” explains Perelmuter. “Your child’s Van Gogh-inspired sunflowers could look very different than someone else’s. It’s a guided lesson plan, but instead of telling them the exact method and placement, we want them to be inspired to create their own work of art.”

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