Years ago, I was stunned to learn that NYC schoolteachers, facing budget cuts, were purchasing art supplies for students out of their own already meager salaries. I myself would never have become involved with industrial design if my own public school education didn't involve art classes.
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Upon learning of the lack of art supplies provided to students, I began donating the unused ends of my photography studio's seamless paper to nearby P.S. 130. These are large 9-foot-wide, 10-foot-long rolls of paper, in a variety of colors, that the students then cut into manageable sizes and use for their projects. It doesn't cost me anything extra to donate these rather than recycle them, yet every time I drop them off, the art teacher thanks me like I'm bringing her some priceless gift.
If teachers are purchasing supplies for students because public schools cannot provide them, they at least ought be able to deduct those expenses from their taxes. But under the revamped tax plan that's currently in the works, they won't be able to. Here are some ways in which the current proposal would affect not only those teachers, but you, versus a corporation that might employ you:
Surely, folks, we can do better than this. Corporations are an important part of our economy and, incentivized properly, a potential engine for growth. But if individuals struggle financially to purchase their products and services, where will we be?
Lastly, if you are lucky enough to work in a creative field that produces an abundance of leftover materials--fabric scraps, paper, foamcore, wood cut-offs, et cetera--please consider gathering these materials up and donating them to your local public school's art department. Chances are you'll find a grateful teacher who's all too happy to accept them.