150 Free Art Kits for South Dallas Youth
Jessica Bell is contemporary sculptor and socially engaged artist based in Dallas Texas. Her work focuses on identity, race, environmentalism, and education. Growing up as a biracial child with white parents in a small rural town in upstate New York, Bell navigates multiple spaces and identities throughout her work. For the past five years, Bell addresses inequities in the arts by offering free art lesson to residents of Dallas who are often marginalized. Bell has worked with the homeless population, refuges, and for the last four years, children from South Dallas. These projects were funded through the City of Dallas, Office of Arts and Culture.
During the trying times of COVID, Bell created 150 art kits for South Dallas Youth. "The Black and Brown community was hit the hardest. I wanted make sure these residents had access to instruction and materials." The kits Bell made consisted of 10 lessons based on African American artist, provided in Spanish and English. Each lesson had a QR code that linked to time-lapse videos of the project. All materials were included to complete the projects, which included paint, brushes, palettes, clay, tools, colored pencils, and more.
"Art played an important part of my life, growing up. I wanted to do something to offer those same opportunities to others" On the lesson packet, Bell states, you can do these lessons or just make art that is important to you. "This is one small part of my artistic practice focusing on being the change. I look forward to expanding and continuing this work."