Members volunteer time, talents and art supplies to help promote art in the Omaha area. Through member’s yearlong donations of art supplies, the membership provides the contents for art packets and art “closets” which are given to child-related organizations, (Child Life Services and the Lied Transplant Center). Each child receives their own art packets to keep, with all they need to create. The organizations are given supplies in quantities for group art projects and a storage container (the “closet”) that is restocked by Omaha Artists, Inc. when requested.
Omaha Artist volunteers began teaching classes to the English as a Second Language classes in March of 2002. We introduce art basics; we give what we call an "art experience" — time to be creative. We teach two 45 minute classes to approximately 30 students, both men and women. Classes are held on the second Wednesday of each month, September through May.
The "art experience" has truly evolved through trial and error. Many of these students have come from terrible situations, especially the Sudanese, who often come from refugee camps and have been relocated many times. We began to see how absorbed they become during their work. The students are very bright and design oriented. Our goal has been to give them a positive art experience, reinforce their English, teach basic skills of drawing and painting, and send them home each time with a shomewhat finished work. We also try to introduce seasonal and cultural scenes that they will encounter in Nebraska. We do snowmen and Valentines, flowers, leaves, and pumpkins relating them, if we an, to something they know from their country – and alwyas we say, "English, please." I wish you could see the variety we get as they take our simples lessons and "run with them." The ESL teachers are also thrilled with the art lessons.
An extension of OAI's Community Art Reach, we now teach 45 adult ESL students from Burma, Bhutan and the Sudan each month. Art "bridges" the language/culture barriers. For more information, see our new pink OAI roster.
Art Bridge Coordinator
For more information contact Linda.