ArtSmarts gives kids a chance to experience the joy and achievement of artistic creation. Each year, Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design brings more than 660 students (grades 5-12) to our gallery and studios to see and discuss exhibitions of contemporary craft and make artwork themselves.

Today, many under-served schools, strapped for cash and pressured to focus on “the basics,” are severely cutting or eliminating art programs. Yet current education research shows that students need the arts—music, drawing, clay, dance…the list goes on—to help them learn how to think creatively, find inventive solutions to problems, follow through on challenging projects, and gain the ability and confidence to speak and write about their ideas. And it’s the students most at-risk academically who have the least access to these important learning experiences. ArtSmarts helps bridge that gap

ArtSmarts serves 22 challenged schools in the City of St. Louis and North St. Louis County. During the academic year, each school brings classes of up to 30 students to Craft Alliance three times; each visit includes an exhibition tour guided by a trained docent and a two-hour hands-on class with a professional artist. Each field trip is structured to introduce students to the craft media in which Craft Alliance specializes: clay, glass, metal, fiber and graphic arts. Students work in small groups to connect the ideas and themes they see in the gallery with their own creations in the studios. Instruction is keyed to school curriculum and Missouri state standards in Fine Arts.