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Beaverton Art Literacy needs funds for upgrade

Beaverton Education Foundation is collecting donations to replace obsolete slide projectors
by: Submitted photo Charlotte Lue at Nancy Ryles Elementary School shows off her William Turner project with Art Literacy.

The Beaverton Education Foundation is on a mission this spring to raise money for the popular Beaverton Art Literacy program.

Its goal is to raise $67,200 to replace the program's obsolete slide projectors with digital technology in 40 elementary, middle and K-8 option schools, including 14 Title 1 locations.

Last week, the foundation announced it was nearly halfway to meeting its goal before a June 11 deadline after receiving a $10,000 challenge gift from Walmart to help support the digital transition. To date, the foundation has raised $31,600 for the Art Literacy effort

For 30 years, the Art Literacy program has introduced and provided instruction in the fundamentals of art and art history and offered studio art experiences to thousands of students each year. The program, taught by volunteers at nearly every elementary and middle school in Beaverton, must transition from slide projector systems to digital presentations, as Kodak discontinued manufacturing slide projectors in 2003 and will end parts support this year.

All funds raised will be used to purchase multi-media projectors and laptops for the Beaverton schools participating in the program, helping to ensure equity for all of Beaverton's students.

'The Art Literacy program has been the primary and often only pathway for art instruction in Beaverton's elementary schools for the past three decades,' said Kristine Baggett, executive director of the Beaverton Education Foundation. 'The Art Literacy program is a great treasure for our students and delivered by a passionate and committed cadre of volunteers. Our community benefits from this program on so many levels.'

The update to the digital age will ensure that thousands of students continue to have access to the artistic process as well as the critical, crossover skills that are developed and honed through a discipline-based art education, she said.

'It is imperative to maintain equity and modernize across the Art Literacy programs of Beaverton by ensuring that all schools are able to make the digital transition,' Baggett said. 'The Art Literacy program has worked diligently to convert all 122 topic boxes to PowerPoint presentations and is now in the final phase to upgrade the technology.'

Walmart's gift brings the foundation one step closer to meeting its fundraising goal for Art Literacy's technology upgrade, she added.

The effort has already gained support from parents, volunteers and teachers, who have seen how the Art Literacy program has made a difference in students' lives.

'When my daughter was in first grade, she enjoyed an Art Lit lesson on Frank Lloyd Wright. She came away totally enthralled with architecture,' said Myra, a mother of a now sixth-grade student. 'As she got older, her desire to become an architect remained unwavering. When she began to complain about how hard her math was becoming, I explained to her how important math is to architecture.

'I never heard another complaint. She became even more determined to do well in math to help reach her goal.'

To learn more about the Beaverton Education Foundation and how to support this project, visit www.beavertonedfoundation.org .

The foundation is a public nonprofit that supports strong public schools in the Beaverton community by developing and maintaining strategic partnerships to fund programs that inspire and increase student achievement.