ArtVan’s Art Bags Featured in The Cryer

Our friends at The Cryer newspaper have written a lovely article covering the rollout of ArtVan’s new Art Bag program! Full text below the image.

ARTBAGS from ArtVan…Working Within The New Kind Of Normal

Story by Keith Spiro, in-article images by Jamie Silvestri – Originally appeared in The Cryer, June 2020 edition

How do you maintain a small degree of normal for kids when daily life is anything but normal?

Artvan created “Art Bags” filled with art supplies for keeping the kids safe and thriving while pivoting their services to stay effective and safe within the stay home, stay safe initiatives.

Artvan has always done its best work, not on Front & Centre, but in “unseen” neighborhoods, with little to no public-facing presence outside of their widely recognized and brightly painted van.

The young people ArtVan serves have little to no access to art supplies, let alone creative, healthy, and non computer-screen driven outlets. The idea of the Art Bags was to provide a safe, healthy, and engaging activity at no cost to the families. Additionally, ArtVan created a YouTube channel where each week a new video is uploaded and their teaching artists utilize the contents of the Art Bags to “interact” with youth through guided art projects.

“We anticipated 125 bags for our first round in April,” said Jamie Silvestri, founder and executive director of ArtVan. “But for our May round, we needed 200!”

The desire to have this kind of creative connection is very real and very much in demand. The pandemic has made much more obvious the economic divide between those just getting by and others more well off.

Community is what keeps us all connected and thriving even at a difficult and scary time. ArtVan is looking for individuals and businesses within the communities they serve who can step up and sponsor the next round of Art Bags.

ArtVan, a Maine-based mobile Art Therapy nonprofit, provides underserved neighborhood youth with therapeutic arts services at no cost, directly where they live. For almost 16 years, ArtVan has facilitated consistent weekly programs in local, under-resourced neighborhoods, helping youth put their energy and emotions into healthy, creative outlets.

For more information call: 207-358-9726 or email: