VAC’s Nov. 15 event is a partnership with BookSmiles, a nonprofit based out of Cherry Hill and started by Lindenwold School District English teacher Larry Abrams to gather book donations for needy South Jersey children.
The event will be held in conjunction with the VAC’s monthly Meet the Artists Reception, and on the same night as Voorhees Township’s Santa Parade and Tree Lighting. The BookSmiles and VAC event will start at 6 p.m. behind the food court at Voorhees Town Center.
During the Meet the Artists Reception, six local VAC artists will paint collection bins that BookSmiles places at one of its more than 10 book drop-off locations across South Jersey, including Haddonfield, Cherry Hill and Voorhees.
“I basically got this idea from a pizza shop in Lindenwold … ” Abrams said of the bins. “For a few years [they] collected books, coats, toys and other things that they could then donate to those in need in Philadelphia. Looking at the collections bins … it was a really, really great idea. When they got out of that business he gave them to me, and they’re such a godsend.”
The collection bins, actually large recycling containers, allow for mass collection of community donations for needy children. Painting and beautifying the bins to turn each into a work of art increases community visibility and encourages positivity about the project itself.
“Since I like art, I loved the idea of making each bin an individual work of art,” Abrams said. “That’s why I’m super excited for Marianne (Leone) and the Voorhees Arts Council to do the live paint demonstration.”
“This event will create awareness, but also the opportunity for our community to see our artists in action,” said Leone, council co-chair, of the artist reception. “The Voorhees Arts Council is thrilled to support such an incredible effort that creates access to reading for so many children.”
Those attending the free event are encouraged to bring at least one gently used book to donate to BookSmiles. The organization recommends a children’s book up to the 6th grade.
The Voorhees Arts Council will keep the paint out until Nov. 19, when it will invite the community to help paint holiday cards for troops overseas. That event will also be held at the same location in the Voorhees Town Center, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Attendees will work with art teachers from VAC and also write notes for the troops. They also will be able to paint two cards, one to be sent and one to keep, according to Leone.
Following the event, all submitted designs will be entered into a contest where social media followers can vote on the best painted holiday greeting card. Voting will take place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 8. The winning design will be sold as a greeting card by the Voorhees Arts Gallery for $2 to raise funds.
Reserve a spot by calling or texting (609) 315-6218.