If you’re looking to posh up your mainstream kids brand and give a little something back to your audience at the same time, The Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation has a promo program that could be right up your alley.
Since June 2002, the Foundation has worked alongside U.K. businesses such as Unilever and BAA to help bring art, theater, music and literature to kids who lack access to these culture essentials because of financial or societal roadblocks. In Q1 2004, the team decided to kick its efforts into a higher gear with a program that used pop culture properties belonging to Cartoon Network Europe as a launching pad to get kids into art appreciation.
CARToon NetWORK ARTWORK was held during the first term of the past school year, with almost 200 Year 6 kids in Lewisham, England participating. The students mimicked the locomotive quirks of Cartoon Network characters like Dexter and the Powerpuff Girls and composed a new soundtrack for Ed, Edd and Eddy. For its part, Arts & Kids ran the event and brought in expert mentors such as the London Symphony Orchestra, illustrator Quentin Blake and the Theâtre de Complicité to work with the kids in the program.
Cartoon Network Europe is stepping out with Arts & Kids again in the fall by sponsoring StoryQuest, a national literature festival for U.K. kids ages 10 to 13 that will run from September 30 to October 8. The seven-city event is designed to hit kids when they change schools and are most likely to stop reading for pleasure. Arts & Kids’ director Rebecca Eastmond says about 13,000 kids will take part in various activities that may include a scriptwriting seminar for an animated one-off that might actually air on Cartoon Network Europe.
Arts & Kids also hosts smaller events throughout the year, including a Tate walk-through with a well-known artist and trips backstage at the theater. Eastmond says businesses can get involved through financial donations, but she stresses that active, long-term participation along the lines of the Cartoon Network program is what really makes a difference to kids. She is entertaining ideas for A&K’s next big event, which will most likely center around music and dance. Although it’s still early days, Eastmond’s door is open to companies interested in contributing financially and creatively.