Holiday Market Raises Money for East Village School's Arts Program

By Serena Solomon on November 21, 2013 4:18pm 

EAST VILLAGE — It's art for a cause.

The East Village's Neighborhood School is raising money for its kids' arts programs by hosting a holiday artisan market this Sunday. Called ArtisanFEST, the event will feature clothing, jewelry, fine art and sample-sale items, with purveyors donating 10 percent of their revenue to the school.

"For the last several years, the Neighborhood School has had to fund exclusively its music program, its library and its arts program [without funding from the city]," said Amy Richards, one of the parents leading the funding drive.

The arts program alone costs at least $40,000 per year to cover a teacher's salary, plus the school has to pay for art supplies, Richards said.

The library and music program also require a similar amount of funding each year, according to Richards and the school's new principal, Dyanthe Spielberg.

"The ArtisanFEST is to not completely drain our community of parents [by asking for more donations]," Richards said. "This is an attempt to bring in outside people to the school to help raise money for the school."

In the past, the PTA has also organized a kid-run lemonade stand to bring in funds for its library.

ArtisanFEST will feature about a dozen vendors, including Odette Williams with her lines of funky baby clothes and aprons. Jewelry brand Vale will also be there with its vintage-inspired accessories, as will Atsuko & Akiko with clothing, home decor and jewelry.  

The Neighborhood School's PTA hopes to raise $2,500 from the event, as it has with previous ArtisanFESTs. The school is also running an online auction through Dec. 13.

Spielberg, the school's principal, said the PTA-raised funds are essential to elevate the school above "a bare-bones operation," which is all the school would be able to afford with its current funding from the city, state and federal government. About 40 percent of the school's students qualify for free lunch, but that's below the 60 percent cutoff for Title I funding, the school said.

"With the budget as it is this year," Spielberg said, "we don’t have anything to spare."

ArtisanFEST will be held on Sunday, Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Neighborhood School, 121 East 3rd St. Admission is free.

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