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Thea Foundation Funds $30,000 in Supplies for K-5 Virtual Learning in Little Rock School District


Thea Foundation announced its $30,000 unique contribution to the Little Rock School District (LRSD) in support of art supplies for 2,750 K-5 students enrolled in virtual learning for the upcoming school year. The at-home supplies packets for each student will include needed items such as crayons, markers, watercolor sets, construction paper, colored pencils, scissors, glue, drawing paper and more.


“We know our state’s educators are under immense pressure to adapt curriculum for remote learning this school year,” said Thea Foundation Executive Director Nick Leopoulos. “LRSD has long benefited from Thea’s statewide programs, but we knew more support was needed to help the second-largest school district in Arkansas. Arts education is paramount, and we’re proud to help equip thousands of K-5 students to continue their creative learning safely at home.” 


LRSD also receives annual support from Thea Foundation through its Art Closet and Arts Reconstruction programs. Since 2007, Thea’s Art Closet has funded more $1.6 million in art supplies and creative materials to underfunded Arkansas public schools — impacting over 44,000 students during the 2019-20 school year alone.


“We are grateful to the Thea Foundation for its continued commitment and ongoing support of our students. We know that the arts provide a wide range of academic and social benefits, so naturally, exposure to the arts helps to ensure that our students become well-rounded, confident individuals. Each time we make this kind of investment into the lives of our students, we are helping to lay the foundation for bright futures. We can’t thank Thea enough for this generous donation and for being our longtime partners in this effort,” said LRSD Superintendent Mike Poore. 


For continued teacher support across the state, Thea’s Art Closet program will fund another $100,000 in supplies and materials during the upcoming 2020-21 school year. The program allows public school teachers to submit individual project requests for needed supplies up to four times per year through DonorsChoose, an online giving platform, making the arts accessible for students in high-poverty areas and classrooms with little-to-no budget. For those who are concerned about distribution of supplies, DonorsChoose has already adapted its service to provide teachers with the option for supplies to be delivered to non-school addresses, including individual student homes. Teachers were able to submit projects for the new school year beginning August 11, and over $20,000 of the annual budget has already been distributed within a week’s time.


The need for Thea’s Art Closet expands each year as more and more Arkansas educators become aware of the available resource, which is only limited to arts-specific teachers at the high school level — all public school teachers starting at kindergarten through middle school can request for supplies. With teachers now having specific supplies requests in support of remote learning, the organization hopes to continue to receive donations to fund its statewide programs throughout the school year.


To donate to Thea Foundation’s mission, visit theafoundation.org/donate or contact Jennifer Owens Buie at jennifer@theafoundation.org or by phone at (501) 951-0374.


Below are photos of virtual learning supplies packets being assembled for the 2,750 K-5 LRSD students.

About the Little Rock School District 

The Little Rock School District is the state’s second largest district, serving more than 23,000 students. LRSD added the new 400,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Little Rock Southwest Magnet High School to its educational fleet in 2020 with a capacity of 2,200 students. The District has the distinction of having two national Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence; nearly 200 teachers with National Board Certification; and historically within the past decade, the most National Merit Semifinalists in the state. LRSD is also home to the 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, Central High School’s 6A/7A State Basketball Champions (2019-20); and consistently ranks among the top award recipients in STEM-related competitions and the performing/creative arts. More at lrsd.org.


About Thea Foundation

Thea Foundation’s mission is to advocate the importance of the Arts in the development of our youth. Three programs are implemented statewide to support this mission—Thea Scholarships, Art Closet and Arts Reconstruction. Since 2002, Thea Foundation has awarded more than $2.4 million in scholarships to Arkansas students and provided more than $1.6 million in art supplies and creative materials to underfunded schools through our Art Closet program. In addition, Arts Reconstruction is our focused effort to help teachers receive professional development and supplies to enable a better platform to advance in their own careers and schools. Our collective aim is to enrich young minds through the power of the Arts as research continues to show the many cognitive benefits of arts education. Named for the daughter of Paul and Linda Leopoulos, Thea Foundation carries on the legacy of Thea Kay Leopoulos, who thrived academically, socially and emotionally thanks to her artistic pursuits. More at @TheaFoundation or Thea Foundation Blog.