Did you have art class when you were little? Art Road Nonprofit was formed because the sad fact is that more and more schools lack art in their curriculum. We just want to give back what we had when we were little, art class.
Prior to founding Art Road Nonprofit, Carol Hofgartner was working as an architectural liaison for an automotive supplier and was asked to speak about architecture at a career day at an elementary school in Detroit over fourteen years ago. Carol went to the fifth grade class, showed the student’s construction documents of a project she was working on and also talked about her experiences in art class when she was little.
This fifth grade boy stood up and proclaimed, “Miss Carol we do not have art class!” The teacher explained that this was indeed true; their school did not have art because of budget cuts. Carol volunteered teaching art twice a month to the fifth grade class for seven years. Not only did she come to class, but invited artists, architects, automotive designers , and others in the arts to come in and teach their unique abilities to the students. One day, Carol was coming up the steps and a boy was yelling from the playground, “art is here” as he was ripping off his coat and getting to the classroom as fast as he could to have art.
The fire alarm went off during one art class and we were getting the students out of the room, when several students were heading back in the class, Carol asked “What are you doing? We have to get out of the building now!” The students said “Miss Carol we do not want our art to be in a fire!”
There was a knock on the door during art and a little girl had her face glued to the window of the classroom. Carol went to the door and the little girl said, “Miss Carol I am special too, when do I get to have art class”? You see Carol only volunteered on one classroom, thus the other 300 students did not get art. That day Carol decided she had to do more.
As a result, Art Road Nonprofit was founded in 2004. Art Road Nonprofit is the only organization in Michigan bringing art class back to school. Our board of directors, advisors, donors and volunteers are the reason that we are able to provide art class to over 1.500 students in Southeastern Michigan.
Art Road’s first school was Edison Elementary School in Detroit. We are able to teach the 400 students art class twice per month currently at Edison. Our students range in age from 6 to 12. And class sizes are large: about 30 students per class.
In 2011 Art Road had grown to teach 800 more students at the Charles Wright Academy of Arts & Science in Detroit, with the same program we pioneered at Edison Elementary.
In January 2014 we grew our program to Charles L. Spain Elementary in Detroit, serving 300 more students.
In December of 2016 we were able to expand our program at Charles L. Spain Elementary and Middle School. With help from our Diamond Partner, The Michigan Glass Project we started art classes for the Middle school students.
In October of 2017 Art Road grew to another school. With the help from our Diamond Partner, The Michigan Glass Project we started classes at Vernor Elementary school. We are able to bring art class back to 297 students at the school.
In December of 2018 Art Road grew to two new schools in the Ecorse School District, Ralph J. Bunche Academy and Grandport Middle School.
Art Road Nonprofit employs Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate students to teach art to the students at Edison Elementary School. Cranbrook Academy of Art is a distinguished art school with a national and international reputation.
Our goal with our art program is to reach all students in southeastern Michigan that lack art in their curriculum. Over 10,000 students in Detroit alone lack art, not including some suburban schools that are completely eliminating art classes. When Carol approached organizations in other states attempting to bring art class back, they laughed, when she asked “Are you going to expand your reach to other states?” They said there is so much need in their states alone that they will not be expanding to other cities, let alone states. Also, when Carol approached the major cultural institutions in the Detroit area, they all said that it is not their mission to bring art class back to schools. This was very heart wrenching because the major institutions have bigger pockets of money, yet are not stepping up to ensure that art is being taught in schools. Who do they think will be their benefactors in the future if the people in their own backyards are not exposed to art when they are little?
Now we wish to educate others in the community that value art education; about our mission to bring art class back to schools. Included in our art model, is employing the best instructors, field trips to art museums, and creating a beautiful environment for art class to take place right in their own schools.
All our funding comes from private, personal and corporate donations, foundations, and grants. We are a grass roots organization that needs your help to thrive and ultimately grow. We believe all children deserve an opportunity to explore their creativity through art class