People who are bored in quarantine — or just plain bored — can pick up a small art kit free of charge from the Arts Council of Dickinson County’s office at 401 N. Cedar St. in Abilene.
The kits were made in partnership with the Kansas Leadership Center as part of its Kansas Beats the Virus program. It was initially intended as a method to cope with COVID-19 restrictions and help people who, because of health restrictions, aren’t able to socialize and go out the way they once did.
The arts council first began distributing the kits in May of last year according to Director Samantha Geissinger. They started with 1,000 of the kits, which arts council members made themselves by hand. There are about 100 left available.
“Our doors opened a little but now they’re closed again,” Geissinger said. “There are people who have not set foot in a public setting since March of 2020. So it looks like we’re out and about, but a lot of us are not. So for those who are homebound or still distancing in a big way, this is a little art kit for them to have something to do at home.”
The kits contain watercolor pencils, a paint brush, a booklet full of instructions and idea prompts, a small amount of paper, ephemera, a pencil sharpened, a pencil, a face mask, a glue stick and a tiny easel on which finished art can be displayed.
“Our goal is when doors start opening up again to eventually have a mini exhibit for those who have made the little art cards and have a swap,” Geissinger said. “So we can show their work.”
She said there had already been enthusiasm from participants.
Geissinger said one participant in the project had entered her artwork in the Dickinson County Free Fair where it won a ribbon.
Anyone is allowed to pick up an art kit for themselves or others, including those who are not in isolation. If someone who is homebound wants a kit for themselves, they can call the arts council at (785) 263-1884 and arrange to have a kit delivered to their residence.
In order to receive an art kit, people should contact the arts council.