Home Art shop The teacher creates “art swap” boxes, providing free art supplies to the community

The teacher creates “art swap” boxes, providing free art supplies to the community


BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. – Small free libraries are commonplace in neighborhoods across the state and beyond. Playing on this concept, Brooklyn Park art teacher Kori Brown decided to create a program to help students access art supplies outside of the classroom.

Next to Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts is an old newsstand. But it’s not just a box. It’s filled with opportunities for kids to let their imaginations run wild.

“In March 2020, we were told OK, now we have to teach online. As a visual arts teacher, I was like, ‘How can I do this? ‘” Brown said.

She is one of three art teachers in schools in the Osseo area and taught at Birch Grove Elementary for 11 years. During the pandemic, she saw a need in the community.



“I’ve noticed that a lot of my students when they’re home, they don’t have the same access to art supplies as if they were here at school,” Brown said. “What I’ve seen is that they’re dropping a subject that they love very much.”

She received two donated old newspaper racks, repainted them and now fills them with art supply kits complete with things like paints, brushes, crayons and more. His goal is to have everything in one kit so kids can get started right away.

“I really like it because it’s free, you can get whatever you want out of it,” said fifth-grade student Sydney Piner.

The second art exchange box is located outside of Palmer Lake Elementary. Brown hopes she can place more in area schools and plans to put the project on the road so it can reach more families.

Brown buys all the art supplies herself through donations. If you would like to donate, visit: https://www.instagram.com/mnartexchange/