For the first time in Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation’s history, they have awarded a $50,000 grant to The Arts Bus to fund the purchase of a new minibus!

The Arts Bus has been rolling across Vermont bringing art supplies and education to children living in Vermont’s rural areas for over a decade.  The iconic green & yellow 1994 International Diesel that creates a rolling makerspace everywhere it goes has empowered thousands of kids since its first journey; however, it is not an all-weather vehicle, with summer tires, no heat (or a/c), and limited interior light. In spite of that, over the past 5 years, The Arts Bus has grown its service to year-round art enrichment programs with the use of personal vehicles, traveling 10-12 afterschool locations every week with classes & kits, plus added stops at schools, daycares, libraries & public events.

With its services firmly established year-round and demand growing as far as the bus could drive, The Arts Bus needed a new vehicle to reach Vermont’s young artists in every season. Thus, when the Foundation announced a Special Purpose Grant of $50,000 earlier this year, the opportunity looked like a double rainbow on a rainy day to Genny Albert, Executive Director of The Arts Bus.

“The Arts Bus has proven the best way to bridge the opportunity gap is to drive over it,” she explains, “With this amazing grant, we’ll build capacity with the perfect vehicle for year-round and expanded service to reach even more of Vermont’s young artists to unlock their creative potential – and we are simply thrilled by what Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation has made possible for years to come!”

“The Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation mission is to promote the well-being of children and families in Vermont by funding community-based prevention programs,” says Amanda Ahmadi, Executive Director of the Foundation. “We believe in meeting children and families where they are – and what better exemplifies this than art education that comes to children in the most rural of our communities. “We are proud of the extraordinary work that has been accomplished by The Arts Bus and we are thrilled to put a brand new Minibus on the road, rolling over hills and mountains to reach more of Vermont’s young artists.”

Minibus Makeover

Once she got the exciting news of the grant award, Albert quickly collaborated with Lamoille Valley Ford to source the perfect vehicle and within a few weeks, they delivered a 2020 Ford Transit AWD cargo van, perfect for the nonprofit’s needs with some outfitting and – of course – a creative makeover!

The Arts Bus now has a new canvas to color and a Minibus Makeover will take place this fall with the creative talent of kids of Vermont and Rutland City’s Awesome Graphics. Children anywhere in Vermont will have until November 1st to participate in the ‘Show Your Creative Character’ Contest to have their original colorful character drawings included on the minibus wrap for all to see wherever it travels. Prizes will be awarded for every entry, including a Grand Prize of a visit from The Arts Bus & Minibus to the child’s school, afterschool or camp!  More details for the Minibus Makeover Contest see our webpage at https://artsbusvt.org/minibus-makeover/.

The Arts Bus will also outfit the vehicle with accessibility runners, loading ramp, affixed shelving & added lighting in the cargo space, the cost for which it is seeking corporate sponsors and private donations.  “With the minibus geared up as an arts enrichment vehicle, it not only gives us all-weather capacity, but also expands our in-person abilities because it can be driven separately to serve two locations in the same day, or together with the bus to larger sites with our art educators in it,” says Albert, “What this means to our little nonprofit is huge!”

About The Arts Bus

Based in Randolph, The Arts Bus is in its 2nd decade of empowering children to find joy and authentic self-expression through the arts and (so far!) has directly impacted a child’s imagination over 20,000 times throughout Central Vermont. The Arts Bus has been generously supported by the Vermont Children’s Trust Foundation, Vermont Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, The Turrell Fund, Canaday Family Charitable Trust and several private families and individuals since the start of its journey in 2010. To support The Arts Bus and see the creative joy it empowers, contact us at info@artsbusvt.org or visit our website at www.artsbusvt.org or our Facebook page @artsbusvt.

The Arts Bus is a mobile art studio and pocket theater empowering children to find joy and authentic self-expression through the arts.