Art from Apart – Mia Miller '21
At the beginning of quarantine and the COVID-19 pandemic, Central Catholic senior, Mia Miller ‘21, spent a lot of her free time doing art. It was a great and necessary way for her to stay busy, decompress, and keep her mind off of stressful things. “With art being this sort of escape for me,” Mia shared, “I began thinking about the kids who didn't have access to the supplies that many of us in the art program at Central Catholic are fortunate enough to have.” With that in mind, she started coming up with ways in which she could provide resources to those who would benefit from having a creative outlet during these stressful times. Thus, Art from Apart was born––a fundraiser to purchase and deliver art supplies to kids who do not have access to them.
Mia began her project back in early June by setting up a GoFundMe page, which would help raise money to purchase the art supplies. She also created a basic list of items that people could purchase online at one of Portland’s local art supply stores, I’ve Been Framed. In addition to supporting kids in the community, she also wanted to support this local art store, realizing that it’s become increasingly important to support local businesses during the pandemic.
After setting up the GoFundMe page and advertising this project, donations started coming in and orders were being placed at the store. Mia collected the orders from I’ve Been Framed and purchased additional materials from the donated funds. She decided to bundle the art materials and create different packs, which would have all of the necessary items for that specific art activity. Mia explained, “An example of these packs is a watercolor pack, which includes brushes, a watercolor set, and a paint pad.” She created eight different art packs so that kids would have a variety of options from which to choose.
Mia put together several art packs and then began to look for a way in which to distribute the packs to kids in the community. She had been in touch with her middle school art teacher, Mrs. Renauer, from Mt. Tabor, who informed her about lunch hubs (run by Portland Parks and Rec) that were taking place around the city. She shared, “After that, I got to talk to one of the supervisors at the Grout Elementary lunch hub, and from there I got in contact with the Senior Director of Nutrition Services for Portland Public Schools, who allowed me to start handing out supplies.”
Her first distributions were at Grout and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School. She set up a table where Portland Parks and Rec were holding their lunch hubs, and handed out art supply packs to any family who wanted them. “It was great to see all the kids lining up and eager to get the art supplies,” Mia said. She took extra precaution to make this procedure as safe and sanitary as possible, wearing a face mask and gloves during the drop off, and even sanitizing all art supplies before making the packs. After her first week of distributing supplies, she ended up giving away all 140 of the art kits she made!
Mia was able to continue this project all throughout the summer and even increased her fundraising goal on GoFundMe after meeting these goals multiple times. As of late August, she has raised $3,277, which allowed her to hand out more than 300 art packs!
Art from Apart has positively impacted and brought smiles to so many kids and families. Mia’s efforts have given kids the opportunity to have a creative outlet during these strange times. When thinking back about an instance that stands out to her with this project, she shares, “At Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, noticing a group of kids walk to the school just for the supplies made me happy about the positive influence we could have on these kids’ abnormal summer.”
To learn more about Art from Apart, see photos, and to make a donation to the fundraiser, please visit the GoFundMe page.