Thousands of Art Kits to Help Groom New Local Artists and Art Lovers

Kailee Scaife putting her art kit to work [David C. Barnett / ideastream]
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The Cleveland Museum of Art is giving thousands of art kits to third-grade students across Cuyahoga County, as a final event of its centennial celebration.  The kits are meant to promote creative thinking at a time when these students are under pressure to achieve on standardized tests.

Kailee Scaife wields a blue drawing pencil with determination as she adds her own touch to a coloring book provided by the Cleveland Museum of Art.  A third-grader at Cleveland's Booker Elementary, Kailee says she doesn't always follow the instructions 

"The reason why I like art," she ruminates,  "is because you can make things that people don't want you to do."

This free-thinker fishes through an assortment of colored pencils, scissors, glue and pictures that come in a plastic pouch the Museum is distributing as part of an education program meant to groom future artists and art appreciators.  The Art Museum's educational outreach activities actually predate the 1916 opening of its University Circle building.  For Kailee's teacher, Cassie Keller, the art kits give her students a break from the regimentation of regular classroom life.

"They don't often get freedom to choose what they would like to do," says Keller.  "We have such structured standards and classes and things that we are teaching.  So, this is a nice outlet for them to just do what they want." 

Kailee's art kit is one of nearly 14-thousand being distributed to Cuyahoga County third-graders .

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