Arts, Culture, and Humanities

Arts Bus Inc

The Arts Bus - celebrating 10 years of empowering children to find joy & authentic self-expression through art!

aka Arts Bus, The Arts Bus

Randolph, VT

Mission

Empowering children to find joy and authentic self-expression through the arts. The Arts Bus is a traveling pop-up theater, music & dance stage, ceramic/paint/textile studio, library & creative safe space. Its creation responded to the challenge parents in rural towns face attempting to transport children to educational and cultural activities at distant sites by bringing the visual, performing and literary arts to kids where they live. The impact from its work is 1) consistent integration of & improvement in the quality art programming provided to children; 2) emphasizing public commitment to the priority of art; 3) affirming the value of the region’s many excellent artists and cultural institutions as EncourageMentors and resources; and (4) connecting art to the heart & hands.

Ruling Year

2013

Executive Director

Ms. Guinevere "Miss Genny" Albert

Main Address

c/o Kimball Library 67 N. Main Street

Randolph, VT 05060 USA

Formerly Known As

Arts Bus Project

Keywords

visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, advocacy, PreK-6 education, early education, rural populations, low income populations

EIN

45-4078211

 Number

7622331089

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Arts Education/Schools (A25)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

After a decade of service, the Arts Bus mission of “empowering joy & authentic self-expression through the arts” finds Vermont’s beloved green bus at the crossroads of limited public art education resources and ever-increasing costs of raising children. The programs are based on acceptance of two systemic facts: 1)there will FOREVER be children at-risk and under-exposed to art; and 2) quality art education will ALWAYS be limited in school budgets. Therefore, the Arts Bus has a unique opportunity at libraries, camps, schools & after-school programs, to capture the ‘after’ time to achieve quality art-education and our mission. The Arts Bus is a traveling pop-up theater, music & dance stage, ceramic/paint/textile studio, library and creative safe space. Its creation responded to the challenge parents in rural towns face attempting to transport children to educational and cultural activities at distant sites by bringing the visual, performing and literary arts to kids where they live.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

3 4 9 11 12 13

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Ever After Kids - Quality art education to at-risk youth perpetually in after care programs

Kits4Kids - The Arts Bus Creative COVID19 Response

Peace by Piece - Community Art Collages inspired in 2020

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Total number of free admissions

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Children and youth (0-19 years),

Families,

At-risk youth

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

Free admissions equates to the number of children directly served by The Arts Bus each year.

Total number of audience members

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Children and youth (0-19 years),

At-risk youth,

Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

The "audience members" include all people inidrectly impacted by The Arts Bus, including participants other than children, gallery attendees, attendees at events where The Arts Bus is offering program

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

The impact of the Arts Bus Project seeks from its work is (1) consistent integration of & improvement in the quality art programming provided to children of Central Vermont; (2) emphasizing public commitment to the life priority of art; (3) affirming the value of the region’s many excellent artists and cultural institutions as EncourageMentors and resources; and (4) connecting art to the heart & hands of generations of children. Each year, we evaluate and reset our short- and long-term strategic goals to meet the needs of the communities we serve. In 2019, we made over 70 stops, served 1540 children directly and indirectly impacted over 16,000 people in the State of Vermont , or 3% of the state's population by a single-employee nonprofit with $65,000 in Gross Revenues. This might be a small organization, but we are efficient & mighty! Our 2020 program includes stops at libraries, schools, camps and public-access locations with the following goals: • Provide 130+ opportunities for children to receive quality art-education in a safe environment for NO CHARGE to the family beyond the payments they make for after care, summer camp, or event charges. Achieve up to 2,000 direct art education interactions with young blooming artists in a variety of settings, year-round. • Foster and achieve 10 connections of community participation. This spans from working with volunteers & crafting communities to make kits “ready-for-assembly” to having the kids’ creations make debuts on a big stage at The Chandler Center for The Arts and the galleries at The Chandler, Gifford Medical, and through local public viewing spaces. • Positively influencing, mentoring, and nurturing Central Vermont’s at-risk youth by providing art education and literacy, skills/techniques laddering, progressive development & composition – with the aim to create the spark of joy that leads to voluntary participation, self-reliance, pride in outcomes. Our Long-Term Goals are (Years 3+): • Show demonstrable art education, skills/techniques laddering, progressive development and composition in Central Vermont’s youth. • Provide progressive andragogic and pedagogic learning, evidenced in art product of children over time and quantitative/qualitative data collection methods (interviews, observation, surveys, feedback loops). • Achieve mission fulfillment through subjective feedback, photos, verbal, and written documentation of empowering joy and authentic self-expression through the arts. • Consistently deliver 150+ bus stops for the community’s children, from which we have memories & smiles across generations of Central Vermonters who have participated in a community of art. • From all of the above, a measurable decrease in at-risk children in Central Vermont with indicators of increased artistic abilities, expression, and outlets. This would also be measured in parental and youth resiliency, social connections, and cognitive, social & emotional competence of children.

The Arts Bus best practices are formed through experience, feedback, research, process- & self-improvement. And, they are aligned with CSSP’s identified Protective & Promotive Factors, as the “Everyday Actions” that build both are what we do! Protective: Our programs are in safe, friendly spaces with familiar, knowledgeable art-educators & EncourageMentors; provide consistent child development, reliable in all times, including times of need; specifically address social & emotional competence-building through the practice of art and empowerment of authentic self-expression. Promotive: By providing art/craft lessons, programs, kits & educators, we are intent on mentoring in the arts – written, visual, performance, edible, S.T.E.A.M., textile, mixed-medium – for all children. Each stop has 8-30 children for whom we customize age-appropriate lesson plans, foster creativity, guide to authentic self-expression, and learn from to allow for progressive social, emotional & knowledge development. Compelling recent research is always instrumental in our program framework, including Univ of New Hampshire’s, 2017 “Understanding Early Childhood Education Needs & Opportunities in the Upper Valley” White Paper, “Working Families’ Access to Early Childhood Education”, Carsey Research Brief #137, CSSP’s research & publications, help-for-helpers workshops, program formation participation & evaluation from stakeholders.

The Arts Bus is mobile, thus its greatest asset is the ability to drive to the children and close the distance between the needs of the community and the resources to satify them. The magic of the bus is evident each time a child climbs up the stairs and enters a classroom filled with opportunities for creative imagination. At eye-level are bins of colorful paper & pens, watercolors & canvasses, costumes & make-up, writing pads & books, scissors & tape, glue & glitter. Hand-puppets Sunny Girl & Joe Cool greet each child with giant smiles, waiting to be given a voice (with clean hands). A library of books, from fantasy to coloring to poetry, are ready to be plucked and taken home. And, ever present is a local Artist-Educator ready to share an art lesson, offer a new skill and empower a child to find joy & authentic self-expression through the arts. After ten years of operations, the Arts Bus is firmly rooted in the community it serves and has built a network of support and resources. From fundraising to art educators to supply donations, the strength of the mission has engendered continuous loyalty and contribution. The organization also has thrived under direction of its recently appointed Executive Director and Legacy Gifts from long-standing donors and the founders of the nonprofit. This speaks to its resiliency and capabilities to continue to achieve The Arts Bus mission for another decade and more!

The first measure of our success is “Immediate, Observable” on children’s faces, in their hands, emotions, creativity & engagement. Then, participant responses--parents, educators, stakeholders & community. We look for satisfaction overall, demonstrable art education of skills/techniques, development & composition. Second, we will measure against 2020 Program goals such as: completing 130+ bus stops to targeting locations of after-care programs; fostering 10 community connections; partnering with 10-12 paid art-educators; 2 collective gallery/stage showings; all achieved in-person or remotely on budget. Last, we will measure long-term results like art education, skills/techniques laddering, progressive development & composition in Central Vermont’s at-risk youth; family strength & community health; all using published research, demonstrable art product of children over time, and quantitative/qualitative data collection methods (interviews, observation, surveys, feedback).

In the midst of 2008, The Arts Bus was an idea formed by a group of Central Vermonters in response to the need for children to have consistent & meaningful exposure to the arts. The group shared a conviction that learning through & living with the arts should not be peripheral, but basic in the educating process, of high quality & wide variety. They agreed that proximity to the arts accelerated healthy development during early childhood & served people through every subsequent stage of life, profoundly affecting human function and fulfillment. The Arts Bus debuted May 8, 2010 at the Fiddlehead Festival in Randolph, VT, and since that day-- with consistent support from grantors, family trusts & foundations, township appropriations & program clients--the bus has directly connected the joy of art to children over 10,000 times! Now celebrating its 10th Anniversary, the Arts Bus is a fixture of quality art education in Central Vermont, facilitating children to explore their own innate creativity, irrespective of economic means or geographic proximity to an arts center. We write grants, find sponsors, use creativity, and problem-solve to consistently achieve our mission and deliver fresh annual programming. There is no charge to climb aboard the Arts Bus, and there never will be. By providing a mobile art education service to Central Vermont, the Arts Bus is driven to provide a creative resource right where our communities need it most.

How We Listen

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

Source: Self-reported by organization

the feedback loop
check_box We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
check_box We shared information about our current feedback practices.
How is the organization collecting feedback?
We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), community meetings/town halls, constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, suggestion box/email, solicitation from stakeholders.
How is the organization using feedback?
We use feedback to: to identify and remedy poor client service experiences, to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, to inform the development of new programs/projects, to identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve, to modify educational practices to best suit the children we serve..
With whom is the organization sharing feedback?
We share feedback with: the people we serve, our staff, our board, our funders, our community partners, parents, teachers, principals, care providers.
What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?
It is difficult to: it is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, the people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, feedback sometimes is too subjective..
What significant change resulted from feedback
In 2019, we learned that most all children in our service area have a lack of basic art supplies at home, as parents rely upon public schools to provide the materials for art in classroom settings. Further, whatever funds parents have for art supplies are most often expended in back-to-school times or for special projects, leaving children scrambling for the basics like art paper, scissors, watercolor paints, crayons, glue and more. While The Arts Bus responded by ordering more art supplies to freely give to children who asked, in 2020 we took this a step further in response to COVID19 school & store closures in March. By April, we'd launched Kits4Kids to put basic supplies in the hands of 1000 kits in Central Vermont. By May 15th, we achieved that goal and are still in production!

External Reviews

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Financials

Arts Bus Inc

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

No