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The Art for the Journey "Creative Corner" premieres on Friday, July 10 at 1:30 pm on VPM PBS Plus. The COVID-19 pandemic changed everything: starting March 13, 2020, AFJ’s staff and volunteers could no longer visit the places where our person-centered art programs take place. Our school program sites saw doors closed and classes transitioned to the virtual realm as families and educators scrambled to continue their children’s learning journeys at home. While many students have adapted to accessing classroom materials online, for others there is little or no access to the internet at home. Debbie Mickle, “Science Matters” Director at VPM, and Mason Mills, Executive Producer, teamed up to inspire educators with a plan: What if Virginia’s home for Public Media could provide access to at-home learning through a TV broadcast accessible to tens of thousands of kids?

Art for the Journey has been sharing make-at-home art tutorials online since the early spring. Debbie Mickle came across a back-porch art project video by Lauren Paullin in a community newsletter distributed by our friends at Culture Works, and reached out with a proposal to bring arts and culture into the VPM Classroom! Lauren’s brother Alex, who produces music and film in Southern Africa to promote conservation, was home in Richmond due to COVID-19 and added his skills to the mix.

What if Virginia’s home for Public Media could provide access to at-home learning through a TV broadcast accessible to tens of thousands of kids?

The result is a fun, inspiring, and educational 6-week TV series called The Creative Corner! The Art for the Journey Creative Corner is a weekly TV show for elementary through high school students and adults. Each episode explores new topics through the lens of the visual and performing arts, with step-by-step instructions for at-home activities designed to enhance learning in core subjects and align with Virginia Standards of Learning. Interviews and performances with guests from around the globe celebrate diversity and showcase art in its many forms — including dance, theater, music, and the visual arts — offering viewers a window to the world

This series is a part of VPM Classroom , which features engaging educational programming on weekdays throughout the summer months — helping students avoid the “summer slide” and expand their understanding of the world while they wait for schools to reopen. The educators in each program introduce and reinforce key content while correlating with Virginia Standards of Learning. One of the main goals of VPM Classroom is to use the power of a public TV broadcast to provide high-quality instruction for students and families who do not have access to the internet.

The Creative Corner was produced and edited as a collaboration between Art for the Journey’s Lauren Paullin and Alex Paullin’s nonprofit organization EarthSong , whose mission is to put music to work for the planet and its people. Alex created signature music for the series and partners with Lauren to record and edit hours of footage into a creative and wonderfully professional show (all from their home!).

The mission of Art for the Journey is to overcome barriers and transform lives through creating art, and the barriers created by the current pandemic are no exception. Our staff are honored to continue serving this mission during a time when so much is on hold. We strive passionately to promote well-being though art for the isolated or underserved, and we are grateful for the opportunity given to us by our friends at VPM to do so through The Creative Corner.

The Creative Corner airs at 1:30 pm on Fridays, July 10 through August 14, on VPM Plus. Catch it on television, or watch all six episodes (released weekly) on the web! . To watch now, click here