We as individuals and as artists can really make an impact on peoples lives. As a kid, I remember getting a fresh new box of crayons and that was one of the best parts of starting the school year for me. Looking back at it now, that box of crayons opened up a whole world of possibilities and that’s what I believe we can all do – open up a whole new world for a young child with art. – Bobby Reys
The PhilARThropy mission has always been to prompt the visual and performing art community to use their talents to give back. Bobby Reys, a PhilARThropy featured artist, is living up to that mantra with his latest project. Aside from creating Chicago-inspired apparel with Lions & Reys, Bobby is now giving back by way of an art supply drive. He has teamed up with Happy Art Center, a South Chicago art center promoting art education to local, impoverished schools and together, they have been getting a lot of attention from Chicago artists looking to help as well as the community itself.
The Happy Art Center’s efforts are geared more towards elementary school kids and their wish list of new or gently used art supplies definitely reflects that Crayola markers, paintbrushes, construction paper and more make up a decent portion of what they hope collect. Bobby has been working to spread the word about these efforts in the last month, so I felt lucky that he stopped for a moment to chat with Selfless about his inspirations and goals for this drive. Here’s what he had to say:
E: Why the Happy Art Center? How did you come upon choosing them?
B: I just asked around to see if anyone could point me in the right direction as far as finding schools & programs. After some researching, I came across Happy Art Center. I really liked their mission statement and what they were trying to accomplish. They are providing a safe haven for kids to grow not only as artists, but as individuals as well. I knew this was going to be the place that I wanted to help out.
E: What made you want to put together an art supply drive?
B: This was something that I’ve been wanting to do for quite awhile now. My parents always emphasized how we should try help out others as much as possible. No matter how big or small the gesture, it has the potential to impact someone it a very positive way. I just felt that at this point in my life, it was perfect time to start a project like this. With so many schools shutting down and so many being underfunded, it’s always the art & music programs that are first to go. I was fortunate enough growing up that I was able to have an art program that had the resources to have art supplies. There are kids nowadays who don’t have a chance to have an art program and if they do, they may not have the basic supplies to create. To me, that is just sad because I can honestly say that I’d be nowhere without art. I believe that every kid should have the right to contribute art to the world and I just want to help out so they can do that.
E: Any other people helping you with this project you want to give a shout out to?
B: I’ve been getting emails, phone calls, and people reaching out to me via social networks all willing to help out. I mean I’m getting support from everyone it seems like. Family, friends, strangers, people from Chicago and from people out of state. I just want everyone to know that all the help and support I’m receiving is definitely appreciated, it’s because of them we are able to do something good for kids.
Bobby will be collecting new or gently used art supplies until May 1st. He is working on securing some drop-off options in the future, but if you’re willing to donate in the meantime, here are a couple options:
Via mail: P.O. BOX 408850 Chicago IL, 60640
Via pick-up: E-mail Bobby directly here