OluKai sponsores smART program to bring art to children

Over the weekend of June 4-5, OluKai was proud to sponsor a mural and school beautification project in Paramount, CA. The smART (students making art) program at Harry Wirtz Elementary School is a grassroots way of infusing the arts back into schools at a time when art programs are being cut and are no longer being supported. Many of the students in the program are struggling academically and shining in the arts at this stage of their lives would do so much for their self-confidence and futures. The program gives students from preschool to 5th grade the opportunity to study and interact with contemporary artists and their works. Students participate in monthly art projects based on the works of artists participating in the program. Works created by students in this portion of smART will be available for viewing along with participating artists' works in and end of the school year gallery event. According to Erik Caruso, the creator and coordinator of the smART program, seven artists created seven murals at the school. “The artists met with roughly 750 students for over 2 1/2 hours,” said Caruso. “This allowed the children the opportunity to engage in some meaningful dialogue with the artists about each of the seven mural projects.” The artists, including Tim Kerr, Gomez Bueno, Ben Brough, Hi-Dutch, Yusuke Hanai, Nathaniel Russell, and Rich Jacobs, were able to appear at the event because of OluKai’s sponsorship of the event. “[OluKai’s] willingness to be a sponsor allowed for smART to work with artists that we truly cherish. smART now had the means to pay for artists' travel costs and materials costs,” said Caruso. “In my opinion OluKai's real role was to plant many seeds of hope. The fact that the artists gave up so much of their time to give to others creates a spark in kids to go out and follow a path of being an agent of change for the world.” Those involved with the smART program are dedicated to keeping art alive in the hearts and minds of children, and OluKai is proud to be a sponsor.

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