For Miami Herald.

Ana Uran felt her 7-year-old daughter Ana Alcaza did not have enough exposure to art. So Uran started her own little art club for Ana and her friends.

Uran called the group the Goodness Gorillas and took them to museums and galleries, where the children looked at art and then tried to create their own.

For three years, Uran inspired the kids until she heard about a community outreach program run by Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach.

“I was excited when I first heard about this program,” said Uran, a stay-at-home mother who lives in North Miami. “Our schools don’t really have enough time for the children to enjoy art.”

In September, the museum went to seven different community centers in Miami-Dade — Centro Mater (Little Havana), Chapman Partnership (Overtown), Culmer Easter Seals Head Start Center (Overtown), Feinberg-Fisher K-8 Center (Miami Beach), Little Haiti Cultural Center (Little Haiti), North Miami Public Library Golden Glades Branch (North Miami), and Overtown Young Center— and set out to engage families and children ages 2 to 8 with an art and literacy program.

“The beauty of this program is that it engages the whole family,” said Lela Lombardo, an art educator at Bass or as they call her in the museum, an “amBASSador.”

“Life becomes very much about the managerial. Go to school, go to work, fix dinner,” she said. “Often times families don’t do things just for the creativity.”

Bass hosts regularly scheduled classes and events for kids on the weekends at the museum, but they wanted to find a way to expand to communities that are challenged in seeking art. Last spring, the museum was awarded $500,000 from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to take their programs out into communities centers on a weekly basis.

Last Saturday, the museum hosted a Creativity in the Community family day to honor the participants and their families who were involved in the first year of the outreach program. The culminating event held performances and invited the families to view their children’s artwork. There were about 200 attendees.

Transportation was provided for those who needed it.

Uran is grateful for these types of programs because art is something she can’t always afford.

“I wanted so long to have this little girl, so when she arrived, I wanted really to let her see the world,” Uran said. “This is one of the ways she can do that.”

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