Club gets new art room thanks to Michaels and Evelyn


SOUTH BELOIT—The South Beloit Boys & Girls Club was filled with gleeful children taking a look at their newly remodeled and stocked art room as the new space was revealed on Thursday.

After a snip of the ribbon the art room door was opened and children entered to see the space including a Cricut machine, computer, 3D printer, a kiln, clay, kinetic sand and all kinds of paints, markers, crayons sorted by color and in clear bins. All the organized items were tucked away for a perfect fit in new shelving. Tables, miniature chairs and easels awaited the wee artists

The colorful and organized sight was made possible by a $25,000 Michaels MAKE Space Grant.

With the grant those at the Boys & Girls Club were able to refresh cabinets and counter tops, buy additional cabinets for storage, buy a new sink, update the art tables, get new art stools and all sorts of new art supplies to fill all the cabinets with all new art equipment, explained Unit Director Meghan Moffett-Minter.

It all began with Program Director Evelyn Garcia-Martinez who applied for the grant. When she heard the news in an email she was shocked and thrilled and the team hustled to plan for the bright new space. Garcia-Martinez’s convincing grant request was selected out of nearly 300 submissions.

Moffett-Minter and Stateline Boys & Girls Club CEO Mark Rand weren’t surprised Garcia-Martinez was able to obtain the grant or what a great job she did selecting and organizing materials. They said she is extremely artistic, detail-oriented and has her finger on the pulse on what the kids of the Boys & Girls Club want and need as she has such great rapport with them.

Rand said art and creative options are an important offering for many kids at the club and they are blessed to have someone talented in the arts and with an artistic eye such as Garcia-Martinez.

Rand said the grant was a bit challenging as no more than 10% of the funds could be spent on contracted labor with a special focus to obtaining the right art materials and getting them arranged to fit the needs of the kids.

Moffett-Minter, who shares a love of art, said she is impressed with Garcia-Martinez’s ability to make things happen and bring complex projects to fruition.

Rand noted Garcia-Martinez has three sisters who either work, or worked in the past, at the Boys & Girls Club and all have special artistic talents.