The Thea Foundation announced today that an anonymous gift of $109,000 to its Thea’s Closet program has made it possible for the foundation to supply 66 public schools in Sebastian and Crawford Counties with a year’s worth of art supplies.

The foundation keeps plugging away at its mission, to bring the educational, cultural and developmental benefits of the visual and performing arts to students across Arkansas. It’s the only foundation of its kind in the state that acts on the idea that art can be life-changing, and it does it with constancy and only modest recognition.


The press release:

The Thea’s Art Closet program will be providing quality art supplies for the 2010/2011 school year to all sixty six Sebastian and Crawford Counties’ public schools. Official announcements for Sebastian County and Crawford County took place with a meeting of superintendents in both locations in mid-July.


THEA Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates the importance of art education in the academic and social development of children, purchased and donated the supplies to art teachers through a $109,500 anonymous donation. Sixty-six schools (every public school) in Sebastian and Crawford Counties will receive a year worth of art supplies. The quality supplies will be delivered in August of 2010. Each school will receive supplies varying from high quality colored pencils, paper, paints, to modeling clay. The high schools will also receive a technology element to include digital cameras for students to utilize in projects. The supplies delivered are catered to the age level of the public school (elementary, intermediate, junior high, and high school) with teacher input on desired supplies.

Response from art teacher Laura Donoho that recently received her supply list for Albert Pike Elementary School in Fort Smith, AR:


Thank You all very much from the bottom of my heart! I teach at Albert Pike Elementary School in Fort Smith, AR and my students are amazing artists.There are so many great and interesting projects that I would like to do with the students. Now, I will be able to do so!

Response from art teacher Gail Boyle that recently received her supply list for Butterfield Junior High in Van Buren, AR:

I just wanted to thank you for the art supplies that you will be sending to our school in the fall. The supplies on the list will be perfect for my classes, and will enable my students to do more art activities than in the past. Please pass on my whole-hearted thanks to the generous donor; this grant will enrich the creativity of hundreds of children in my school alone! As my students like to tell me…Art

Budget constraints have often created difficulty for schools to properly fund art education in public schools. Many times teachers are forced to use personal money to purchase the art supplies for their students.
Art education is critical to the development and confidence our youth, and these art supplies are the teacher’s tools to help their students dream and feel good about themselves, said Paul Leopoulos, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the THEA Foundation. Because of the anonymous donor’s generosity, the public schools in these counties now have the resources to help students achieve more in the classroom and in life.


Recent studies indicate that students who participate regularly in the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, four times more likely to participate in math and science fairs and three times more likely to win an award for school attendance.

THEA Foundation, based in North Little Rock, was founded in 2001 following the untimely death of Leopoulos’ 17-year-old daughter, Thea, who was an accomplished artist, actress and writer.

“When Thea found her hidden talents in art, drama and writing it changed every aspect of her life in such a short amount of time,” Leopoulos said. “She had confidence and her self-actualization process took off like a rocket. She discovered something exciting and it taught our family the importance of art in a young person’s life.

The mission of the THEA Foundation is to advocate the importance of the arts in the development of our youth through educational and promotional activities and to encourage individual participation in art through scholarship, partnership, and other programs. Programs include THEA’s Scholarship Program, Thea’s Art Closet, Art Across Arkansas, Workshops and much more. For more information on the THEA Foundation or call 501-379-9512.