EAST LANSING — Through one art project, MEA member Julie Durocher has found a way to both alleviate stress for those quarantining at home and help homeless people in her community who lack safe shelter during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
Durocher lined up visual artists in Jackson County — where she is a professional artist and elementary school art teacher — to contribute original artwork for a downloadable Quarantine Coloring Book. Funds raised through coloring book sales benefit the Jackson Interfaith Shelter.
“It was interesting and fun to see what different artists came up with,” said Durocher, a K-2 art teacher at Northwest Community Schools. “I’m so happy people are willing to share and give back to their community to make this time better for everyone.”
Not unlike recent star-studded musical benefits streamed online, buyers donate $5 or more for a link to download and print the coloring book. Participants are encouraged to post pictures on social media and tag the shelter on the Jackson Interfaith Shelter Facebook page once they finish coloring pages. The coloring book is available for purchase through May 30.
The Quarantine Coloring Book features 12 pages of professional artwork drawn in black ink, ranging from animals to flowers and plants, intricate patterns of shapes, a fantastical Michigan map, and Durocher’s own pop-art image of a gumball machine, among others.
Like Durocher, MEA member Sarah Sundberg is a professional artist and elementary school art teacher. Durocher contributed a drawing of a dragonfly gracefully flitting among flowers and leaves. Sundberg said working on art projects helps her get through tough times like these, and the public health crisis has provided an opportunity to share that sense of hope with others.
“Coloring is relaxing,” said Sundberg, who has taught elementary art in Jonesville for 26 years. “You don’t have to think, and it’s impossible to mess up.”
In just 10 days, the coloring book project has raised more than $700 for daily meals and emergency housing programs serving individuals and families at the homeless shelter in downtown Jackson.
The coloring book fundraiser has provided welcome encouragement to staff and residents, Jackson Interfaith Shelter CEO Steve Castle said.
“When we’ve got our heads down just trying to get through each day, it’s such a blessing to know others are out there doing their part to serve those experiencing hunger and homelessness,” Castle said.
Make a donation and download your copy of the Quarantine Coloring Book before it disappears on May 30.