By Rodney Robinson
PRINCE GEORGE, Va — The Lamb Center for Arts and Healing in Hopewell has created 550 art kits in all, as they have been distributed to kids in Prince George, Hopewell and now Sussex in wake of the current pandemic.
Dr. Eliza Lamb, co-founder and executive director of the Lamb Center for Arts and Healing and former Prince George High School graduate, began this process around March 13. Lamb grew up in the Hopewell area and following high school, she received her Masters from Columbia University in arts administration and clinical psychology. Lamb also received a Masters in art and art education. She then went on to receive her Doctorate in art and art education. However, Lamb always visited home and wondered how she could help and make a difference.
“Eventually, I just felt really strongly that maybe I could come back and take all of this cool knowledge I had gained and experience I had gained to see if I could make a difference in the place that I grew up,” Lamb said.
Dr. Lamb’s parents have lived in Prince George since 1983 and they were always “committed” to helping the community, according to Lamb. Together, they co-founded the center in 2016. The mission of the center is to help the community by using art, mind, body and spiritual healing opportunities. The center serves about 4,000 community members in the Hopewell area per year with free art programming, according to Lamb. Once the pandemic reached its heights in March, Lamb said it “started to become clear for us that a lot of our in-person programming was not going to be able to happen.”
In the initial process, the center began to provide kits for their after school kids. However, over time with generous donations and working with the community foundation, they were able to make 550 kits. In the kits, the kids have about $25 worth of art material according to Lamb. Within the kits, each child receives a workbook. Within the workbooks, there are guided practices and special prompts that kids can follow along. Lamb said she reached out to professional contacts, explaining the situation and asked to send creative prompts for them to work through while at home. Also former Prince George High School students, some who are professionals, helped with the workbook also.
Other materials included in the art kit were glue, colored pencils, scissors, drawing pencils and pencil sharpeners to work in the workbook. In Prince George, the center included watercolor sets and snacks such as granola bars. In Hopewell, they included sidewalk chalk. The center also included hygiene materials that were “hard to find,” such as KN95 reusable masks and soap.
The kits were distributed to all of the kids getting free lunch in Hopewell. In Prince George, they were able to distribute them to schools and currently, the kits are beginning to distribute in Sussex. Lamb said that they continue to try to “expand this out.”
“We just don’t know how long this is going to go on,” Lamb said. “We’ll keep doing what we can.”
The center recently donated 125 art kits through the Jessica Ann Moore Foundation to kids in Sussex. The distribution will begin Thursday, July 23 at 11 a.m. For more information, visit https://www.lambarts.org/.