cARTie Mobile Museum Brings Culture to Schools, Bridges Inequities in Arts Education

The bus travels to 20 Connecticut schools, and the founders of the nonprofit hope to expand in the future.

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One Connecticut nonprofit is changing the way hundreds of kids experience art. A mobile museum called cARTie is bridging inequities and bringing culture to local schools.

When the bus pulls up to a school, the kids know something exciting is about to happen.

“I think it looks good!” Tri’Stan Bostic, a second grader at Mead Elementary in Ansonia, said.

cARTie is Connecticut’s first and only mobile art museum.

“The cARTie museum bus is an art museum designed to be young children's first introduction to the museum environment,” Clare Murray, cARTie co-founder and executive director, said. “The minute they hop aboard, there's ‘wow.’”

Mother-and-daughter educators Clare and Tish Murray co-founded the nonprofit in 2019.

“Clare and I were volunteering at a children's museum and having fun one day, thinking, wouldn't it be great if all kids have access to this kind of fun and learning opportunities?” Tish Murray, cARTie board chairperson, said.

For the kids at Mead Elementary, a cARTie visit means a day of creating and thinking outside the box.

“You can paint anything,” Bostic said.

School administrators are grateful for the partnership, which brings the arts into classrooms.

“They get to touch. and feel, and paint, they love it. And they're so excited when they see this bus pull up, because they know what it is,” Amy Cosciello, Mead Elementary principal, said.

The cARTie program consists of two segments: one where students create art in the classroom, and another where they board the bus to experience its exhibition.

“It’s just real hands-on experience for them,” Assistant Principal Robert Durant said.

The artwork displayed in the bus is created by high school student artists. When kids in kindergarten through second grade get on board, they experience an environment that aims to develop critical thinking.

“An opportunity for their own creative thinking, the ‘whys,’ the ‘what's,’ the ‘what ifs,’ the ‘how comes,’” Tish Murray said.

The nonprofit’s goal is to bridge inequities in arts in education.

“There are a lot of children that don't get to go to the museum,” Tish Murray said. “So just want to share that with all children, because it's an amazing experience for them to know that museums are open to everyone.”

All while opening each child’s mind to a world of imagination and the endless possibilities in the world of art.

“How can we can let our minds start to imagine new possibilities, and that all starts in our early childhood, our most formative years,” Clare Murray said.

Last year, cARTie had 20 partner schools. As of this year, the mobile museum is traveling to 20 schools, and the founders hope to eventually expand and make more visits statewide.

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