by Teresa Miller
Febraury 11, 2020
With the start of the pandemic distance learning, Lauren Dennis-Perelmuter recognized a need for art lessons. Distance learning caused schools to scale back art classes, despite studies showing art improves math skills, vocabulary, fine motor skills and critical thinking. And creating art brings joy.
To bring art lessons to distance learning, Dennis-Perelmuter created Art Box Academy.
“We used the system that we had developed over several years for our Holiday Pediatric Art Box,” she said.
In 2000, shortly after receiving a fine arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Dennis-Perelmuter founded the Art To Grow On Children’s Art Center. The Redondo Beach-based company designed art activity boxes for schools, daycare centers, hospital pediatric units and, notably, for children whose parents were guests, or just dining at Terranea Resort.
“Lauren’s been instrumental in helping us pivot to alternative activities since COVID,” said Gaye Vancans, Director of Activities at Terranea Resort. “She worked with our team to create Terranea’s Tide Pool Kids Activity Boxes, with activities specific to Terranea. One is a plein air activity and the other a tile activity. Lauren also helped us develop a Gratitude Box for Thanksgiving and a Holiday Box for our guests’ children.”
“We get great feedback from the parents,” said Vancans. “There’s real learning for kids and involvement for parents. She understands the frustrations of parents and kids and balances the needs of both.”
For distance learners, Art Box Academy offers boxes with lessons and materials that help children ages three to 12 create paintings inspired by Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Georges Seurat and Pablo Picasso; and also 3D models inspired by architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminister Fuller and I.M. Pei. The 3D models, in particular, Dennis-Perelmuter said, offer kids a break from staring at their computers and tablets during Zoom lessons.
Art Box Academy offers three Signature Art and Activity Boxes; a jumbo Architecture Art and Activity Box; and a three-month, subscription-based Art Lesson Bundle.
“We used the system that had been in place for several years for our Holiday Pediatric Art Box, Dennis-Perelmuter said.
She is now working on a new Jumbo Spring Break Art and Activity Box. It will include two master artists projects and 10 related activities.
All of the boxes come with biographies about the artists, supplies, instructions, vocabulary lessons and prompts that invite curiosity and engagement.
Dennis-Perelmuter is also working on a new Summer Camp in a Box, which she said was popular last summer.
“A creative mind is essential in today’s climate,” Dennis-Perelmuter said. “These ‘muscles’ can be strengthened, stretched, and enhanced to ensure a child thrives. “
Art Box Academy art boxes are in the $50 to $100 range and may be purchased in volume for learning pods, schools, classrooms, camps, and birthday parties. Art Box Academy is currently working with MBX and the Peninsula, Redondo and Torrance education foundations. When a family purchases a box, 20 percent goes back to the organizations.