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Oregon Coast Art Bus Makes Debut in Newport

Published 08/02/21 at 1:06 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Art Bus Makes Debut in Newport

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(Newport, Oregon) – A unique and colorful new way for kids in rural areas to learn about art is debuting in Newport soon, with the Oregon Coast Council of the Arts (OCCA) announcing the rollout of the Oregon Coast Art Bus on August 14. The bus is a mobile arts-learning platform, that brings the creative process and learning projects to students in Lincoln County and beyond.

A primary purpose of the bus is to serve rural communities and what is known as the “opportunity gap” associated with educational challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Oregon Coast Art Bus will focus on such areas starting this summer, as it kicks off its first tour on August 14 at 1 p.m., at the Newport Performing Arts Center (777 W. Olive St.). The tour launch event will be free and families are encouraged attend.

“The Art Bus brings OCCA's programs deeper into the community,” says OCCA executive director Jason Holland. “It helps us remove some of the barriers to arts participation and creates more equity and access which is critically important right now. Over time, we plan to build partnerships with community organizations across Lincoln County and beyond, to bring our high-quality arts programs right to their doorstep. OCCA's Arts Bus is fueled by creativity and innovation and you never know where we may show up next!”

Funds from the Oregon Community Foundation's K-12 Summer Learning Fund are being used to purchase and build out the art bus, prepare it for safe travel, purchase bus furnishings, and develop onsite arts projects and take-home art-to-go kits. The art bus will also serve as a mobile Internet hotspot. The purchased bus, a 2000 International TransCam 3000 RE, was previously owned by the Jefferson County School District and then a private owner in Florence. The bus tour's summer goals include serving over 800 students with both on-site and take-home arts programming. Art classes will be presented outdoors or inside the bus in case of inclement weather. The summer learning curriculum will be based on two texts developed for young learners: “Ellie's Strand” and “Ellie's Log” by ML Hearing and Judith Li (OSU Press).

The Oregon Coast Council for the Arts is currently working with community partners to establish the tour schedule, which will be announced at the August 14 tour launch event (tour details to follow). Interested community organizations are encouraged to contact OCCA at 541-265-6569 to discuss their interest in being part of the art bus tour, which will include stops in rural towns across the county.

“The Oregon Coast Art Bus Project is designed to be very responsive to community needs,” says OCCA VAC director Tom Webb. “We encourage schools, libraries and other community organizations to be creative right along with us. The summer tour will focus on the visual arts but there is no limit on the variety of arts programming that could be associated with the art bus.”

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