FULLERTON, Calif. — People’s lives are changing because of the COVID-19 pandemic and not everyone is adjusting well. Farrell Hirsch and his team at The Muckenthaler Cultural Center want to help.
“Our mission statement is to enrich the human spirit through the arts and it doesn’t say only when it’s easy, or when it’s cheap. The point behind it is to do it when and where people need it and that is here and now,” said Farrell Hirsch, the CEO of The Muckenthaler Cultural Center in the city of Fullerton.
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Hirsch leads a team which includes artists like Marsha Judd who came up with the idea to give away hundreds of curated art projects every week during the Safer at Home emergency order.
“The idea here is the brain connections that are made from children physically moving the materials is a life-long pattern of learning,” said Marsha Judd, an art and child development professor at Cal State Fullerton and lead artist at The Muck.
The goal is to help parents keep their childrens’ minds engaged.
“There’s a lot of people in this neighborhood who may not be in school right now. They may not have the ability to go online and so we don’t want to just hand out a coloring book or something simple,” said Hirsch.
The Muck has given away more than 1,400 art kits so far. It costs the center about $500 per week to raise enough funds to purchase the kits.
In order to make sure the kits are as safe as possible, the Muck team wears gloves and assembles the kits days in advance so the virus can’t survive on any of the projects’ surfaces. This is the third week in a row that Irena Praitis has waited in line to pick up an art kit for her son Ishaan.
“It has been trying at times because his schedule is gone and you’re trying to figure things out,” said Praitis.
Praitis is doubling as a work from home mother and teacher. With in-person classes canceled for the rest of the school year, these art kits gave Ishaan something to look forward to.
“These kinds of kits give him a new sort of outlet. Something that is outside of what he, himself, would think of. So it’s been really great,” said Praitis.
Each fabergé egg kit will take up to three hours to complete. These jeweled eggs’ cultural significance stems back to the 1800’s in Russia where they’re a symbol of renewed life and hope.
Hirsch and his team at The Muckenthaler Cultural Center say life will be different, but they’re hoping these projects will help children and their parents look past this uncertain time and towards to to the future.
The kits are distributed on Tuesdays between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
To help The Muck continue to provide art kits for families in need, please visit: https://themuck.org/donations.
For more information about the art kits, please visit: https://themuck.org/programing/art-kits.