‘Art Warriors’ work to ‘save’ The Farm
Despite decades of working with children, Chris Broussard was reminded how little ears hear and understand more than adults sometime expect.
Broussard, who teaches art at Glenbrook, was visiting with her fourth grade students and mentioned challenges facing Cultural Crossroads, which is the non-profits arts organization Broussard directs.
"What I didn't realize was that out of those conversations, I gave Hannah (one of the fourth grade students) the impression that The Farm (which belongs to Cultural Crossroads) was going out of business," Broussard said.
After Thanksgiving break, Broussard returned to school, where she learned little ears are attached to big hearts.
"The children had spent their days off creating items to sell," Broussard said. "They had strategically collaborated on a scheme to generate funds, not for themselves but for a cause that they had decided deserved their attention. They had made ankle bracelets, duck tape wallets, hand drawn cartoon, and anything else they could think of that would bring in a buck."
Broussard said she was amazed at the effort her students put into their plan.
"The way they collaborated and organized their little team was so inspiring," she said. "What makes this all so incredible to me is that I saw them create a movement. A movement to save the arts."
Broussard said The Farm is not "going out of business," as some of her students thought.
"While our revenue streams have dried up and grant dollars for the arts have been drastically cut, we've managed to come up with ideas to generate funds to keep The Farm open," she said. "But none so moving as theirs."
However, Broussard admits without support from the community The Farm, like many non-profits, is having a difficult time raising funds.
The notion that The Farm might not be there bothered several of Broussard's students.
"Hannah Mosley, a shy and extremely intuitive young fourth grader, had listened intently to some of my rants about our responsibility to keep the arts alive," Broussard said.
Hannah said she wanted to help because she believes in the arts.
"I wanted to help The Farm because I like art and Ms. Chris said if people like art, they should help, because if people don't help, places like The Farm will go away," Hannah said. "It feels good to help The Farm. I'm really excited to raise a lot of money so we can keep doing fun stuff there."
Hannah shared a "Save-The-Farm" idea with her friend, Sarah Parnell.
"They met with their fellow classmates and began making notes and brainstorming on what things they could do to generate funds," Broussard said. "Before you know it, they had their entire fourth grade class involved.
"They campaigned during the holidays and hit up anyone they could with their idea and their mission to 'save The Farm,'" she continued. "While I've been waiting and hoping the community would rise up and realize the importance of the arts, a little girl did."
After their return to school, fourth graders gave Broussard the $55.90 they raised during Thanksgiving break and decided to set a goal of raising $1,000 by selling ankle bracelets for $1 each and selling cartoons for 50 cents each. Raffle tickets are also being sold for a chance to win a girl or boys gift basket full of toys.
"It took everything I had to hold back the tears," Broussard said. "This little army of art warriors had put it all in perspective for me. That $55.90 was worth more than a thousand dollars to me.
"And these two little girls who recruited an army of followers now own my heart. I'm not worried about the future of The Farm or the future of the arts in Minden when a group of students, who are creative thinkers, are more than capable of starting their own movement."