The Arts Bus is a 25-year-old former school bus that was redesigned into a classroom and given a spectacular green and yellow exterior, filled with art supplies, and has traveled thousands of miles over bumpy country roads to get art into the hearts, hands, and minds of children in Vermont. The Arts Bus packs a pretty big wallop!
Below are the Major Programs the Arts Bus presently brings to children in Central Vermont, but note these are customized each year based upon the needs of the community, sponsorship and funding, artists, materials, weather and road conditions. We bring nearly all art mediums, art educators, and supplies to eaach stop to suit the children we serve!
Single Stops – Exploring the Arts
Exploring the Arts is the Arts Bus Project’s general education program. It provides pre-school and school aged youth (ages 5-12) with ongoing activities and one-time classes in visual arts (painting, collage, paper arts, mask-making), music, movement, yoga, theater arts, crafts (ceramics, woodworking, fabric arts), storytelling and writing, and a wide range of learning projects (e.g. studying and creating Egyptian obelisks, prehistoric cave art, Maori war dances, Greek theatrical masks, and Chinese calligraphy). Examples of classes include:
- 3D Design – Building from 1 Dimension to 3 Dimensions. Using spaghetti sticks, mini-marshmellows, gumdrops and toothpicks, we build from one dimension on paper (e.g., square or triangle) to 3-dimensions in air (e.g., cube or pyramid), then let the little architects and engineers take off from there
- Galaxies in a Jar. Using glass jars, Tempera paint, glitter, loads of cotton balls and water, we create custom galaxies with each child that have teal-purple-pink nebulas, gold and silver stars, and a whirl of creativity unique to each galaxy. Just like the real thing!
- HumAnimals. No supernatural powers needed! Did you know there’s a shrimp that can create a fireball? A ‘bear’ that can go a decade without eating? After learning about the “creature features” all around us and designing a matrix of alternatives, we combine humans with animals in a creative blend of body parts, exoskeletons, naturally-occurring powers and loads of silly! Then, we capture them on paper as best as possible with markers, narrative and storytelling afterwards.
Legacy Arts: Transfer of Generational Wealth in Artistry
Legacy Arts, inspired by Elliot Wigginton’s Foxfire Journal Project of the 1960s, assembles lessons that come from the life of our children’s grandparents and great-grandparents. Because the Arts Bus serves a rural area, we feel itis important to introduce the kids to local ways of the past which have evolved into the life they experience today. We started in 2012 with a highly successful cheese making unit taught by local farmers, and funded by the Windham Foundation. In 2020, we created a ceramic Legacy Quilt with the oldest and youngest members of the Randolph community, resulting in an incredible connection of hands and hearts across time plus two gallery showings!
The Legacy Arts program offers an opportunity for intergenerational learning, and the Arts Bus will be partnering with local artisans, crafts persons, musicians, gardeners and farmers in its development. Areas of future study and exploration include storytelling, fiddling, soap making, herb gardening and candle making. Legacy Arts can be single- or multi-stop workshops.
Silk Screening – 2-stop Workshop with 2 hr sessions, 10-12 kids per session
Designing-your-own wearable and usable art in the medium of fabric! Giving kids the inside look clothes they wear and how the words/art get on them. 1) Design patterns for silk screens, learn silk-screening techniques on paper to learn technique. (ArtED: design, drawing, artistic collaboration into mosaic). 2) Silk screening fabric (tbd – tshirts, aprons, bags, bandanas) using the kids’ designs on 2-3 screens after learning techniques of emulsification, exposure, and negative/white space. (ArtED: design, fabric/ink manipulation, color fades)
Sock Puppets – 4-Stop Workshop
Giving life to a character of a child’s creation, we instruct using design, drawing, motor skills, animation, drama, performance, and production skills….and the child keeps their own new sock-puppet for their face & voice to be seen and heard! First we Design Puppets (design & drawing – pen & paper); then Cut/AssemblePuppet Parts (motor skills, scissors, textiles, puppet design); then Assemble/Embellish (continued design & motor skills); last, we put it all together with Production/Play with Puppet Theatre (dramatization, animation, performance) through song, skit creation, character animation, and dramatic effect!
The Hills Are Alive – 3 or 4-Stop Workshop
Learn the songs of the Sound of Music — Do-Re-Mi, Edelweiss, The Lonely Goatherd, So Long Farewell (singing, animation, drama); then make stick-puppet parts for The Lonely Goatherd (design & motor skills – pen, paper, scissors, yarn, foam, felt, fabric); then Sing/Perform “The Hills Are Alive in Vermont!” with stick-puppets, alternating parts, chorus, harmonies, echoes, and animation (dramatization, animation, performance).