Creating transformative art experiences is part of Frost Art Museum FIU’s mission. This may seem like an impossible task whilst the museum’s doors remain closed due to the Covid-19 crisis—but along with virtual exhibitions and engaging digital content, two recent grassroots initiatives by museum employees delivered art experiences to recipients in need.
The project involved creating art care packages for partner organizations Dr. Carlos Finlay Elementary School and West Kendall Baptist Hospital. For a group of Finlay students, the museum put together art activity packets.
“Lessening educational inequalities within neighboring schools and communities has always been a top priority for us,” explained Jordana Pomeroy, the musuem's director.
Frost Art FIU is a Miami Dade Public Schools STEAMworks partner with area elementary school, including the Dr. Carlos J. Finlay Elementary School. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the school is currently closed and many of its families are unable to access art supplies for projects.
The school’s staff identified specific families in need of supplies and each received an art care package with various art-making supplies inside: safety scissors, paint sticks, paper, felt fabric, glue, markers, crayons, decorative accessories and more.
The packages were put together in a safe and sanitized environment with social distancing precautions in place and were delivered to the school last week. Finlay staff then distributed to area families in need.
“These packages mean a lot right now...and having a moment for children to use their imagination, frees them up from the daily stresses that we've all been experiencing,” said Miriam Machado, chief of education at the musuem.
The reaction from the school’s staff and recipient families was tremendous, including a thank you email where one parent wrote: "In the middle of a crisis, for someone to remember your little one is worth more than a thousand gold bars."
Another long-standing museum partnership is with West Kendall Baptist Hospital, a main sponsor of the museum’s annual Breakfast in the Park Art Basel event. The partnership expanded to include a year-round Art & Health “Art Cart,” providing art activities to families in waiting rooms and to hospital staff to keep them stress-free and engaged and Frost Art Health and Mindfulness Activity Kits.
Distributed to West Kendall Baptist hospital staff earlier this week, in celebration of National Hospital Week (May 10-16) and International Nurses Day on May 11, the kits are a small token of gratitude from musuem staff to hospital employees on the front lines of this pandemic.
“The to-go art kits are our way to use art materials to support art making for wellness and also recognize our hospital heroes by giving them an opportunity to take a moment to relax their minds from everyday stresses,” added Machado.
The hospital staff can post their completed masterpieces on Facebook and Instagram, tag @frostartmuseum and use the hashtag #FrostArtCares, for an opportunity to win a free museum membership package.
There will also be a call to action on social media for area families in need of art supplies, who can message the museum to receive a care package.
“It is very much the FIU spirit to support our patrons and community partners. We know that making art produces a sense of calm and tranquility, which is what everyone needs during these trying times,” said Pomeroy.
If you are a family in need of art supplies, email your needs to firstname.lastname@example.org to request an art care package.