Art Pals

By Zoe Glassenberg

This month’s blog post supports The National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles (NCJW/LA). But I specifically chose to support their Art Pals program.

Art has always been a part of my life. My Aunt Beverly was always painting, and would often let me paint with her when I went to her apartment. My family and I often visit museums and discuss our favorite pieces. Maybe 13 years ago we went to LACMA and saw the Andy Warhol collection they had on display there. I instantly fell in love with his work and we bought a print of his self portrait and two prints from his shoe collection. In January my family and I took a trip to the Broad Museum, where we were able to see some of Warhol’s pieces, including his self portrait series. I remember sitting there so fascinated with the self portraits like it was the first time I was seeing them. I was able to see and appreciate Warhol’s work in a whole new way 13 years later.

On February 20, 2016, I went to the NCJW/LA volunteer brunch, where my mother Frannie Glassenberg was receiving an “Unsung Hero” award, for all her hard work and dedication to the council. When I walked into the auditorium I saw pictures on construction paper to my left, and to my right I saw paintings done by various children in different grades. As I walked along the wall on my right looking at the paintings I kept stopping at this one particular painting. This painting just spoke to me in a way that none of the other paintings did.

Abstract Expressionism Lesson, 3rd Grade

Abstract Expressionism Lesson, 3rd Grade

I decided that I needed to have this painting. The painting was $25 and the proceeds went directly back into the Art Pals program, to help fund the program for the school year.

Art Pals was established 25 years ago by volunteers at NCJW/LA. Art Pals is a thirteen week class in the contemporary arts. The curriculum was designed by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and is delivered to 500 third graders in elementary schools, where visual arts education has been either reduced or completely eliminated. The program is run by volunteer art educators. Not only do the children participate in hands on activities, they are given art history lessons, and taken on field trips to see museums and galleries.

Art Pals in one of the many programs NCJW/LA offers to children and young adults. Their programs include Light Up a Library, a program designed to help operate underfunded libraries in public schools; After School Homework Clubs, where children can receive assistance on their homework from volunteers; Shelter-Based Enrichment and Tutoring where tutors assist children and teenagers living in shelters with homework and creative activities; Art Bridges Culture, in which volunteer art educators use various art forms to teach third-graders about the diverse cultures in Los Angeles; Pregnant and Parenting Teens Tutoring and Enrichment, a program designed to help teens earn their high school diploma through one-on-one tutoring, as well as helping them with life skills, interview techniques, and resume writing; Back to School Store, provides children in need with school supplies, and with new clothing and shoes.

NCJW/LA does a lot to help the community. You can support Art Pals by purchasing Art Cards, or you can help NCJW/LA in any way you choose by clicking here.

Originally posted on the blog “Bigger Than Me” by Zoe Glassenberg, where Zoe writes about the different charities she supports and how you can get involved with helping them too.