A Brief History of Art Goes to School
Art Goes to School of Delaware Valley originated in 1962 as a project of the Community Arts Committee of the Junior League of Philadelphia. The intent was to “create a supplementary art appreciation program for elementary school children in the Philadelphia area. ”
- In 1962, several Junior League women brought this program to 3447 students in 11 schools. In 1964-65, the first non-League volunteers participated.
- By 1970-71, 144 non-League members and 6 League volunteers conducted this program for 20,000 students.
- In 1972, Art Goes to School of Delaware Valley became an independent organization with eight chapters and $5.00 dues.
- In 1973-74, the number of chapters doubled.
- By 1974, a yearly schedule of four enrichment lectures for our volunteers was established.
- By 1976, 27 chapters, both in Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, were part of AGTS.
- In 1980, forty groups made up our roster; we were officially incorporated by the state of Pennsylvania.
- In 1983, our first membership newsletter, two mimeographed sheets, was distributed. By 1994, the newsletter, an eight- page publication, was professionally printed.
- By 1984, there were 50 chapters and 654 members.
- In 1987, we celebrated our 25th anniversary with a luncheon and lecture.
- In 1988, our portfolio holdings were computerized. By 1990, our membership lists were too.
- In 1990, our first “regional meeting”, called for members to share ideas, was held. It has since evolved into our annual November Networking Workshop, a popular AGTS enrichment program.
- In 1993, we achieved official non-profit status.
- In 1999, our web site went on-line at www.artgoestoschool.org
- In 2002, we entered into collaboration with RSVP of northeast Philadelphia and created a chapter of AGTS, who bring the program to schools in Northeast Philadelphia. The chapter is now called the NE Philadelphia chapter.
- In 2003, we incorporated sculpture from the “Art Within Touch” project into our programming.
- In 2004, we instituted a grants program.
- In 2005, we updated our by-laws to reflect our non-profit status.
- In 2005, the Central Bucks chapter produced a video on VHS and DVD About AGTS.
- In 2006, we welcomed our 52rd chapter to our organization.
- In 2008-9, we created and printed a Members handbook with information and guidelines for our volunteers .
- In 2011, we received a grant from the Deb Carrier-Harry Gaines Remainder Trust which enabled us to work with the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia and add prints of local murals to our portfolios.
- In 2012, we celebrated our 50th anniversary with a gala luncheon at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, attended by over 300 members.
- In 2012, AGTS launched its Facebook page in June.
We have grown to over 700 volunteers in forty-eight school districts. We serve over 155,000 children in nearly 400 public, parochial, and private schools. In addition, our members bring art appreciation to senior citizen centers, nursing homes, special education students, reading clubs, and home-schooling associations. Art Goes to School members volunteer as docents at every area museum, and have been active in developing creative partnerships with these institutions. We have been the recipients of several grants from the Womens league for Art, Target, and the Five County Arts Program. We are proud to be a vital, active part of the arts community of Southern Delaware Valley and New Jersey.