Art program truly giveths forward


     Off in the distance a siren screams but never comes close to deafening the war on the other side of the bedroom wall.  School is a refuge but strung with a whole new set of problems.  Finally, summer school arrives and a simple, lonely piece of chalk takes the churning, angry bomb inside and melts it into nothingness.  Richard remembers all too well the distressed childhood, but also remembers his time with art class when he was able to put away the trauma and focus on his chalk rendition of a sunset.  Today, people just like Richard are making a difference around the country by allowing art to heal in ways never imagined.

     The Dreaming Zebra Foundation was formed and cultivated by Dawne Camera, former owner of ZC Gallery based in Chicago, Illinois and Portland, Oregon.  Always having the desire to combine fine arts and philanthropy to benefit communities, Camera has started a nationally known buzz phrase with educators, artists and children alike.  The past Director of Contracting and Materials Management at Northwestern University in Chicago could never have believed that Dreaming Zebras would provide such an intense learning experience and such a sense of relevance to thousands of children with just a few art materials.

      The foundation was formed in 2006 and became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2008 that is geared toward helping schools and community organizations by providing art and music materials free of charge.  With the educational cuts in full swing, many students are not able to become involved in the visual and musical benefits that an art program can provide.  Disadvantaged youth that are turned away due to a personal lack of funds for instruments and art fees are now finding that the introduction of a creative outlet can have a huge impact on their lives.

     Ninety-percent of the children that take part in Dreaming Zebra are considered at-risk children; handicapped, homeless or living in foster care and all of the teachers and personnel that volunteer.  Research proves that art education can be an intricate part of the developmental growth of a child in addition to breaking down socioeconomic boundaries.  By having an opportunity to take part in an art program, many children are turned from a darker future of trouble and form an internal feeling of self-worth.

     Communities are urged to begin an art-recycling program where reusable art and music supplies that would otherwise be discarded, are donated to Dreaming Zebra.  The organization posts materials that are of use in inspiring kids in art on the website.  Simple things like pictures, paper plates, buttons, yarn, pencils and fabrics make a huge impact on creating art projects.  You can also find a list of the most needed items and services that keep the organization alive and children coming back for more.

     If you are interested in learning more about the Dreaming Zebra Foundation that is dedicated to building new communities for children, see  Companies such as FedEx are coming forward to send packages full of dreams to towns where supplies are needed while other businesses are boxing up paper that would otherwise be discarded.  One gentleman brought in the contents his wife’s entire art studio after her passing and the recipients just went wild.


  All types of situations are plaguing children today where fear and solitude reign over their lives.  By offering passage into the world of art, a safe, comfortable meaning is able to emerge even during the worst of times.  Whether you wish to make a small donation, establish a creative recycling program or start a Dreaming Zebra program in your area, all it takes is dedication and commitment to helping the youth of today.

Published by on April 2011. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Palette Journal, Bugle Section, Commentary, Educator's Row. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Comments for “Art program truly giveths forward”

  1. What a pleasure to read about organizations that make children’s lives better not only with art education, which has proven to heal, but also all forms of education. My congratulations also goes to this entity’s founder, Dawne Camera.

  2. Thank you for the beautiful article and for helping us to share the news about our cause!

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