The fund fosters the talents of children eager to find a guiding hand to help them express their creativity and provides art education programs such as camps, in-school workshops and student mentoring by professional artists.
Since 2014 the Elaine Raphael Arts Fund introduced programs designed to bring art into the lives of children:
Weekly sessions for young talented artists to develop their drawing and painting skills
Artist-led painting and drawing workshops for elementary and middle school children either in a school or community setting. Each workshop is configured to meet the needs of a specific group for time and content.
The Elaine Raphael Arts Fund is named in honor of noted artist and writer, Elaine Raphael Bolognese who’s last wish was to continue to help children discover their artistic nature. Art was the center of Elaine’s life and she knew how close she had come to never knowing the nature of her gift. Whenever she could, she taught kids art. Whether in schools, at workshops such as The Cloisters or through dozens of books she wrote and illustrated with her husband Don Bolognese, she always sought to foster and develop the talents of children eager to find a guiding hand to help them express their creativity.
Art is a word that immediately conjures up all that we as a collective consciousness consider the best things we as humans have ever done: Michelangelo’s David, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Medieval cathedrals, Dante’s Inferno, Shakespeare’s plays, Mozart’s symphonies, the list, thankfully, goes on.
These wondrous things, these accomplishments by both individuals and entire societies are but only one phase of “art” – the final phase, the “thing”, the artifact, the tangible evidence of an intense effort to wrest a beautiful and arresting result from a complex and often unconscious struggle to give physical life to what begins as an ephemeral burst of the creative imagination – “my God, whatever possessed the artist who came up with that incredible work?”
A “work of art” whatever its form, is merely the final statement of a long and private discourse between the artist and his insatiable imagination. As any artist will tell you, the “letdown” he or she feels at the conclusion of a creative project is palpable and relieved only by the beginning of a new journey into the creative wilderness.
As an artist Elaine knew this truth and better than most, reveled in its twists and turns that often led nowhere. But when, in those rare times, a destination did actually appear the satisfaction was intense and compelling enough to prompt new forays into uncharted territory.
This “creative impulse” this sense of being alive, this is what keeps an artist going, not the commonly accepted rewards that society occasionally and often reluctantly bestows on the artist, more often than not, too late to be appreciated.
This recognition that “being creative” was tantamount to “being alive” was what kept Elaine attuned to the artistic impulses of the people she met, especially the children. Having almost lost the chance to be a life-long artist herself she sought every opportunity to encourage and enable every young would-be-artist she met. And, if you ask them now, that they are adults, they will each tell you what she meant to them.
That is what all of us in the ERAF family want: to perpetuate that nurturing of the fragile creative spirit that was Elaine’s main goal in life.