Last year the Route 66 Arts Alliance held its annual Summer Arts Program in Edgewood. I got to be a part of it with drama, but there was a whole lot more. Portraits, watercolors, ceramics, landscapes, newspaper creations, (Class led by my editor—I liked those best.) It was a world of fun.

“Playing with Paper” class at 2019 Summer Arts Program by the Route 66 Arts Alliance. Photo by Leota Harriman.

Then came “you know what” and everything was cancelled. ALMOST! With the help of people who do not like to see children disappointed we bring you… ta DA! Art online. We have a website and you can get the links posted to the online classes. Bigger news. Last year we had the lunch program for students provided by Moriarty-Edgewood schools. They still give out breakfast and lunch. This has not changed; food is provided, free of charge, at Route 66 Elementary School on Barton Road. And the bigger news is this, according to Arts Alliance president Sandra Holzman, “Vickie Simpson is not only the lunch lady that we owe so much to for feeding our students; she is the lynchpin of the new addition to lunch, free art supplies.” Under the direction of Mr. Josh McCleave from MESD, and the help of the Town of Edgewood to help with finances, Vickie got the plan going by talking to Route 66 Arts Alliance. It fit perfectly with the new online art classes. The ongoing breakfast and lunch will continue; the art supplies will be given out as well starting June 22.

One hundred bags with paper, oil pastels like Georgia O’Keefe worked with, crayons, colored pencils with real magic, like Harry Potter. OK, I made that up. But the supplies are wonderful and will fill in the gaps of missing the summer classes. There are enough supplies to do at least 8 classes or more. And they have not forgotten the writers or poets, there are classes on, “Where I am from Poetry and Road Signs. Route 66 Art, get it? Road signs. OK. You will love this. We are so sorry we could not be with each and everyone who took classes last year. It was the most fun I have ever had in drama with all you fairy tale characters. But that is all right. We will find adventure in a new way. Isn’t this what art is all about? It is expression with new objects. A different way of looking at something, you can reach out, touch it, and make it your own. TA DA, you are an artist.

You must remember all this begins June 22, at Route 66 Elementary from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. The lunch program is Monday through Friday so you can pick up art supplies then.

Did I forget to mention that we will post pictures of your artwork on our Facebook page and we will try to get a real live art show going, if the “you know what” is better? We could wear masks! I like masks, it hides my wrinkles! This is important to me. When I was 10, in the fifth grade in Iowa, where it is flat with corn and hogs, I went to our one museum for art lessons. I liked art and I like to read about ancient Greek myths. I decided to learn art so I could draw some of the stories that were great, but they did not have pictures.

Drama and dance performance led by Jo White during the 2019 Summer Arts Program by the Route 66 Arts Alliance in Edgewood. Photo by Leota Harriman.

So, I used my imagination and on my piece of newsprint paper, I drew Pegasus in all his glory. Pegasus had beautiful wings that made him soar and later provided a ride for Bellerophon. Bellerophon protected Olympus from the monster, Chimera. I loved the story and wanted to illustrate it. My drawing skills were not great, horses bother me today. I can not do them well, but at ten I was anxious to try. There were only crayons, and Pegasus is always white. I used a yellow crayon to color the flying horse. I was very proud. The instructor, came to my place and said, “That is ridiculous and so wrong. Horses cannot fly, and they are not yellow.” She took it and tore it up. I never did art again until I was 20 in college. I missed out on a lot. But I did bring my Edith Hamilton book of myths and showed it to her. She was not impressed. It was her loss.

Do not lose out on this chance to be more and do more. I know a lot of you kids, and you have an artist in each one of you. Parents do not let this go by without participating. By the way, I did learn to paint on windows and did it for years with “The House of the Holiday Mouse.” The mice did not have wings, but they could dance on the windows. The pay was good too. Roaring Mouse, still not painting horses. Out.

Jo White
Jo White

From 1966 to 1971, Jo attended the University of New Mexico and Memphis State University, earning degrees in Communications, English, Journalism, Speech and Drama with history minors. At UNM, her hero was Tony Hillerman. She taught high school and middle school in city, country, and private schools for 30 years. Roaring Mouse is in its 25 th year. She can be reached at jomouse@aol.com