Friday, May 22, 2020

Art Meals Tucson

Spring mornings are delightfully cool here in Tucson. It’s a great time to walk, meditate and prepare for the day. The new social distancing morning ritual for thousands of youth here includes meeting the school bus to pick up meals. Last week something special was included in lunches.

Art Meals Tucson emerged from brainstorming sessions during the Veterans Rescue Mission weekly Eco Art classes. The classes had been going on for several years and included murals, paintings, drawing, sculptures and visiting artists. The classes went on line following stay-at-home orders. We had been tossing around ideas of how to use the arts to inspire people during these dark times. What could we do to help? We knew that the digital divide in Pima County had exposed itself, and many youth were not getting the arts education support they deserved.

Some of the original ideas were to include an Art Kit in each bag, similar to the kits we had distributed to houseless several years earlier. When we talked with TUSD food services we found out this might be difficult, they suggested we create art from the food packaging.

As we flushed out the idea one of the workshop participants, suggested creating curriculum that could be placed inside each bag. It was perfect. Andrew Tegarden a Teaching Artist earning his PhD in Art Education at the University of Arizona School of Art & Visual Culture Education, ran with his idea, it was an exciting moment!

He shopped the idea to the UA, his colleagues and TUSD, spending countless hours getting the permissions and support needed. Amidst this pandemic he managed to pull together a curriculum development team and put in several more weeks of hard work editing, researching and organizing to produce these four issues of Art Meals.

(Originally we wanted to print each one in four languages; Yoeme, O'odham, Spanish and English. We managed to get some of the translating done, we really needed more time and resources to accomplish this ambitious goal.)

The “Art Meals” team included: Andrew P Tegarden, Delbert Antone, Michael B Schwartz, Mia Ione Garcia, Alyssa Jasmine Thomas, Benjamin Pawlowski and Dianna Taylor.

This first series is free! You can download, copy and share. Please Use Hashtag #ArtMealsTucson

Distribution Schedule:

Mon. 5/11, 8:00 a.m. 
Theme:  Healing Natural (Art) World—Living Giving by Animals, Plants, and People

Wed. 5/13, 8:00 a.m. 
Theme:  Nothing’s Trash—Reusing What You Got in Artistic Ways

Wed. 5/13, 8:00 a.m.  
Theme:  Home within Home—Exploring and Enlivening Where Your At

Fri. 5/15, 8:00 a.m. 
Theme:  Recipes for Change—Food, Art, and the Future

For more information write Andrew at:

VRM is a non profit charity, you can donate here:

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