ARTsmart New Mexico
Opening eyes and minds … one child at a time
Teaching art, literacy, and life skills, ARTsmart empowers and transforms lives.
By ensuring that children have the opportunity to explore, experience, and engage in diverse visual expressions, ARTsmart provides a constructive learning environment that fosters creative thinking, encourages individuality, and supports critical analysis. ARTsmart programs reduce truancy, improve grades, and inspire the realization of dreams, which positively impacts students, families, and communities.
ARTsmart is a 501c3 nonprofit that was founded in 1993. It provides more than 2,200 hours of instruction in the visual arts to the youth of New Mexico each year. Since its inception, more than $4,422,000 has been invested by ARTsmart to subsidize student art programs and provide art materials for northern New Mexico youth. Another $63,000 in the ARTsmart Art Changes Lives Scholarship has been awarded to high school seniors to pursue the visual arts in college.
As of 2013, the history of ARTsmart is entwined with that of Fine Art for Children and Teens (FACT), founded in 1990. In March 2013, ARTsmart merged its fundraising and organizational skills with FACT’s award-winning programs. But the relationship of the two organizations goes back about a decade, when ARTsmart, recognizing the parallel goals of both organizations, began distributing a portion of the proceeds from its annual ARTfeast fundraiser to FACT.
Today, ARTsmart provides art materials and year-round visual arts instruction for elementary through high school students. ARTsmart programs are conducted independently, in northern New Mexico public schools, charter schools such as New Mexico School for the Arts, and in collaboration with art organizations such as SITE Santa Fe. ARTsmart provides accredited instructors, lesson plans, materials, and scholarships. Through the proprietary FACT method, students learn art history and vocabulary, watch techniques, do hands-on artmaking, participate in positive feedback critiques, and exhibit their art.
ARTsmart is governed by an all-volunteer board from the community. As a working board, ARTsmart board officers and members are actively engaged in all aspects of fundraising and programs.
In 2007, ARTsmart created two endowment funds held at the Santa Fe Community Foundation: (1) The General fund was established to ensure the ongoing operation and the success of ARTsmart. (2) The ARTsmart Scholarship fund is earmarked for scholarships for exemplary high school seniors who plan to pursue a career in the arts. ARTsmart’s goal for the Scholarship Endowment Fund is to be self-sustaining. The fund will provide scholarship recipients assistance for four years of college if the students continue to meet pre-established criteria each year.