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ArtSpark is catalyzing arts education in the Eugene area

River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary School students work on an ArtSpark funded claymation project
Eugene Rotary and Lane Arts Council
River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary School students work on an ArtSpark-funded claymation project

As nonprofits return to in-person fundraisers, one Eugene arts organization is offering several ways to help bring the arts to local elementary schools.

ArtSpark, hosted by the Lane Arts Council and the Rotary Club of Eugene, raises funds to bring art education to every elementary school in Eugene 4J. Lane Arts’ Executive Director Stacey Ray said they have more than 40 teaching artists in dozens of areas. “Just a few examples include ceramics, mural painting, scientific illustration, natural dyes, fiddle music, salsa dancing, West African music and dance, stop motion animation and there’s just a ton more than that.”

Ray said the goal of ArtSpark is to provide two two-week artist residencies to every elementary student in Eugene 4J, and to increase funding from the district. She told KLCC when they started ArtSpark, there was no district support, and that, "(in the) 2017-2018 school year they committed 40 thousand dollars. This year, they committed 100 thousand dollars. So in just a handful of years, ArtSpark has substantially increased support for arts education from the school district.”

Ray said the end goal is to have a sustainable arts program.

She said they planned the 2022 event not knowing the state of the pandemic, and they’re happy to have options. People can donate all month, join an online auction or go to a kickoff event April 23rd at the Midtown Arts Center, where Lane Arts Council now has its offices.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.