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Making Art Free For All

If children can’t go see art, the art should come to the children. That’s the principle guiding the Touring Art Museum into remote and underprivileged communities to give hands-on art education to kids with no other access to it.

Sponsored by the Jordanian National Gallery of Fine Art, the program is run by its tireless facilitators, director Khalil Al-Majali and painter Suheil Baqaeen, whose mission is “to increase cultural awareness of plastic and visual arts” throughout the society.

Every week, they drive a museum van carrying canvases by famous artists and enough art supplies for children to try making their own art. The paintings are often the first that the kids have seen, and the kids—from youth centers, orphanages, refugee camps, rehabilitation and juvenile detention centers—take to the lessons enthusiastically.

Since 2009, 197 art tours have visited over 9,500 participants. Even if only a few children go on to pursue careers in art, Baqaeen says, their work will have been worth it.

For more info – Jordan National Gallery’s website

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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