Brandywine initiative supports under-resourced art programs at PA public schools

It's no secret that Pennsylvania public schools are struggling, and that their art programs are suffering greatly. This year, Penn State Brandywine has teamed up with Philadelphia-based nonprofit Fresh Artists to collect art supplies for under-resourced public schools.

"Fresh Artists focuses on more than providing paint, markers and paper," said Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Laura Guertin, who, as head of the campus' Laboratory for Civic Engagement, is managing the project. "Kids become artist-philanthropists, with digitized and enlarged versions of their artwork displayed at corporate offices, and the corporations give financial donations back to purchase the art supplies."

This initiative is the second annual Community Service Kick-off, which was developed last year to allow new Brandywine students to participate in a service activity during their first official welcome day on campus, known as Convocation.

"We want new and returning students to know that Penn State Brandywine is committed to its land-grant mission of serving the people of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and around the globe," a flier for the program reads. "Our goal is to show Fresh Artists that we have Penn State pride in our volunteering activities now and throughout the year."

Donations will be collected throughout the summer in the Tomezsko Classroom Building Lounge, on Convocation Day and during the first week of classes. To make a financial donation, which will be used to purchase the art supplies, please contact Connie Stankowski at 610-892-1249 or stop by Suite 111 in the Main Building.

The Laboratory for Civic Engagement summer communications intern, Brandywine senior Labanya Mookerjee, will be tweeting regularly about art in public schools, Fresh Artists and more. She will tweet every Friday using the account @PSUBW_ENGAGE and the hashtag #FreshArtistsFriday.

As part of last year's Kick-off initiative, the campus collected more than 100 boxes of breakfast cereal for Philabundance, the region's largest food bank.

Please visit the Laboratory for Civic Engagement blog for a TED talk about Fresh Artists. "You will be inspired," Guertin said. Visit to learn more about Fresh Artists.

The Community Service Kick-off is sponsored by the Laboratory for Civic Engagement, the Office of Student Affairs and the student club We Are Penn State M.A.D.E. (Making A Difference Everyday).