It’s easy for artists and educators alike to feel overwhelmed by the burden of purchasing art supplies, and as a result projects tend to get scaled back. I’ve found that it’s important to allow myself to look at the big picture of a project, and to resist the urge to limit the outcome based on budget. Ultimately, my budget is finite, but by thinking big I challenge myself in ways that yield creative outcomes.
There was the time that I taught a 10-week Fine Arts program to 100 elementary and middle school students on a $65 budget. I designed my curriculum in a way that would allow my students to have a meaningful art-making experience, and then evaluated the resulting supply list. Rather than purchasing new canvas I asked a local coffee roaster for their old burlap bags, and with a few coats of old house paint to prime the burlap I had beautiful new canvas.
Luckily, there are places like SCRAP and RAFT. At these one-stop-shops art makers and educators are able to turn others’ trash into their treasures. I encourage everyone to explore their community for the diverse range of art supplies that exist around every corner.