Art classes return to Poinsettia Elementary for another year

Art classes return to Poinsettia Elementary for another year
Poinsettia Elementary art teacher Tara Clark helps second grade student Ava with her drawing. Thanks to the fundraising efforts of Laura Bodenstenier, the school will continue to have art classes this year. Photo by Paige Nelson

CARLSBAD — Poinsettia Elementary School will have art classes again this year, thanks to the single-handed effort of one dedicated parent. 

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to see the community come out and support art classes,” Laura Bodensteiner said. “It’s really heartwarming to know everyone is so supportive and hopefully we will continue to have that support for years to come.”

A few months ago, Bodensteiner set up an online donation webpage to raise at least $8,000 to keep art classes at her daughter’s school every other week.

The school has been able to keep an art teacher on staff for the past four years with help from a private parent donation, but the funds ran out with the conclusion of the 2012-13 school year.

Over summer, Bodensteiner has worked hard to spread the word about the program and rally parent support for the fundraiser. In addition to signs posted around campus and take-home flyers planted in the main office, parents also receive a weekly PTA e-blast with a link to the donation website.

Bodensteiner reached her fundraising goal just days before the start of the new school year last month.

“I’m really excited to show the community that something like this is possible,” Bodensteiner said. “It’s a small attainable goal and we hope we can set our sights even higher.”

A total of $8,200 from 65 different donors has been raised through the Save Art at Poinsettia website. A local art studio, AC Creative Studios, helped by pitching in $1,000 and volunteered to donate 15 percent of its proceeds from summer art camps to the Poinsettia Elementary PTA.

“I just want to say thank you to everybody,” said Poinsettia Art Teacher Tara Clark. “I think it’s extraordinary how the parents have banded together to make sure their children get what they need.”

Bodensteiner still hopes to give students art classes on a weekly basis and is now pushing to raise $16,000. She said no matter how much is raised, all funds will directly support Poinsettia’s art program.

“People come up to me all the time and ask what they can do,” Clark said. “A lot of parents are excited to come into the classroom and help. There’s an endless amount of enthusiasm.”

Clark said she’s currently collaborating with the Carlsbad Public Library to try to showcase the students’ artwork in the community next year.

“We want to expand on what it means to have art in our lives beyond school,” Clark said. “We’re figuring out more ways to raise awareness and foster a creative community.”

In the meantime, Clark and Bodensteiner are brainstorming on how to make the program more sustainable so it’s a part of the curriculum every year. Clark is still waiting for ArtSplash and Crayola to announce the winners of the grants she applied for earlier this year.

Bodensteiner said her next fundraising objective is to increase the time kids spend in the computer media lab. Right now there are only enough funds for 10 hours each week.

“What’s the worst thing people can do?” Bodensteiner said. “Say ‘no?’ I’m not afraid to ask.”



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