Artie the Imagination Bus

Art Bus Visits Lundy

It’s 3 PM on a Wednesday, and the Imagination Bus is packed with eager second-graders.  The bus, covered in eye-catching murals and dubbed “Artie,” has made its way to the rural town of Lowell, Oregon for the second in a series of five visits to Lundy Elementary School. A collaboration between Imagination International, Inc. and the River Road Park and Recreation District, Artie the Imagination Bus is on a mission. The rolling classroom, with room for 22 students at a time, brings arts education to schools throughout Lane County.

Artie the Imagination Bus

Artie the Imagination Bus

Students in the program learn basic skills while doing fun art projects, according to Lundy Principal Kay Graham. “We have had very positive feedback from the students and staff.  It is great to have an art class on wheels.”

Lundy teacher Jessica Edgerton agreed. “It is so neat to hear about all the creativity that is coming out of this experience.  The first few weeks, the students thought were really tough. They weren’t fully understanding the color wheel.  But now that they have been putting it to use and coloring, drawing, they are very excited.”

Imagination International staff teaching Lundy students

Imagination International staff teaching Lundy students

Imagination International generously donated the visits to schools participating in the STELLAR Project at the University of Oregon’s Center for Advanced Technology in Education. Additional funding for the Lundy visit was provided by Philip and Sandra Piele.

Community Program Instructor Nori Rice explained that while Imagination International has numerous educational programs, they only have one art bus, and Artie’s schedule is filling up. “It goes out to Kelly Middle School twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays and comes out to Lundy for two classes on Wednesdays. So it’s three times a week now, but during the summer it’ll be five times a week,” Ms. Rice said.

The art bus program was launched in October with the goal of bringing art education to the community. This mission is especially valuable to rural districts where arts funding has been reduced or eliminated entirely.  At Lundy, the bus is so popular that there isn’t enough room for all the students who want to participate this time, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be other opportunities. “We hope to have the bus return for summer classes as well as during the 2016-2017 school year,” said Principal Graham. “This is a great partnership and we are thrilled with the opportunity provided to Lundy Elementary School.”

A young artist hard at work

A young artist hard at work

School administrators who are interested in scheduling a visit from Artie can find more information, including how to contact the River Road Park and Recreation District at www.rrpark.org. To learn more about the STELLAR Project, visit owp.uoregon.edu.

Photo credit: © 2016 Rachel Cameron. Used with permission.