ROSS TWP. — Lake-Lehman elementary students demonstrated their steady hands as they painted their favorite Pokemon characters at a Canvas and Cookie event on Friday, Sept. 30.
The kid-friendly twist on the adult concept of art-and-wine style events was designed to help compensate funding for the elementary school’s art programs, said Selena Mazzella, an art teacher for Ross and Lake-Noxen elementary schools.
“Art supplies are very expensive,” Mazzella said. “One tube of paint can cost $10.”
School districts are operating on tight budgets and often art programs are the first to be cut due to funding restraints, she said.
“Some districts such as Wilkes-Barre and Northwest areas have lost their art programs,” she said.
Lake-Lehman School District does budget funds for the art program, Mazzella said.
But to afford the more expensive art supplies, Mazzella holds Canvas and Cookie events monthly at Ross Elementary School in Sweet Valley.
Proceeds raised from the $15 per child registration fee are split between the art programs at Ross and Lake-Noxen elementary schools, and some funds are set aside to offset costs for the next event, Mazzella said.
“I’ll use the proceeds to purchase items like clay for the classrooms,” she said.
Mazzella borrowed the Canvas and Cookies idea from the Lake-Lehman Junior/Senior High School.
The high school started holding the event quarterly about two years ago, said Jenna Casaldi, an art teacher at the Lake-Lehman Junior/Senior High School.
“The event really took off at the elementary schools,” Casaldi said.
Casaldi believes the fundraiser is popular with younger students is because painting on canvas is a novelty for the children.
“High school students paint on canvas frequently,” she said.
On Friday night, 31 children ranging from third to sixth grade from both Ross and Lake-Noxen elementary schools filed into the Ross Elementary cafeteria.
Students were directed to pick out a smock and a Pokemon character that was drawn on canvas.
They choose between six different Pokemon characters that included Cubone, Charmander, Pikachu, Jigglypuff, Squirtle and Vulpix.
Jeremy Hospodar, a fifth grader at Ross Elementary, dipped a small paint brush in bright yellow paint and carefully applied it to the body of Pikachu.
Hospodar said he attended every Canvas and Cookie event since it began nearly two years ago.
“I think this will be my favorite one (project),” Hospodar said.
Ross Elementary sixth-grader Sierra Vogan was a first-time participant.
She said she heard about the event through friends and “really wanted to paint Squirtle.”
Genie Gorgam, the mother of Arianna Gorgam, a Lake-Noxen Elementary School third-grader, was pleased with the program.
“It (Canvas and Cookies) is really nice,” Gorgam said. “It will boost their (the children’s) confidence.”
Lake-Noxen third-grader Nora Zekas’ mother, Barb Zekas said the price was fair for a Friday night activity with a snack.