JOHNSON, Vt. – An art teacher at Johnson Elementary School has been her students a creative outlet during Vermont’s stay-at-home directive by packaging over 170 art kits.

Arista Alanis, who also serves as the Vermont Studio Center’s community arts coordinator, initially sent her students home with sketchbooks. After seeing similar ’emergency art kits’ distributed at other schools, she ordered items online and got to work packaging them up to mail to students.

Arista mentioned that it was a community effort – a neighbor let her work out of their garage, Johnson’s postmaster helped distribute the kits as quickly as possible, and the Vermont Studio Center helped pay for postage.

As students have been sending back their creations, including many thank-you notes, Arista has been touched by the response.

“The most wonderful delight is when I’m on my walks, everyone knows I walk all the time,” Arista said. “I’ll hear ‘Miss Arista, thank you for the art supplies!’ I was getting all choked up when they were coming out of their doors – it was tears of joy.”

The Vermont Studio Center’s Interim Executive Director Ellen McCulloch-Lovell also helped fund the effort, and suggested utilizing a grant from Vermont’s Windham Foundation to cover the cost of supplies.