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Art on the bus idea wins award

Islander Megan Hand is shown at the wheel of a school bus as part of a portfolio of women who are featured in an on-line photo album produced by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz. - Theresa Fotheringill/Special to Reporter
Islander Megan Hand is shown at the wheel of a school bus as part of a portfolio of women who are featured in an on-line photo album produced by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.
— image credit: Theresa Fotheringill/Special to Reporter

Mercer Island resident Megan Hand has a unique vision of bringing art education back to the children in the Mercer Island School District, one bus stop at a time.

After art programs were cut from schools’ budgets, Hand came up with the idea of recycling an old school bus to serve as a traveling art classroom to each of the three elementary schools.

Hand is on the Fine Arts Advisory Committee board for the school district, a fundraising group that raises money to support grants for teachers in fine art, music and drama. Fueled by her belief that art builds a foundation in which expressive thought is nurtured, Hand invented the “Art Bus,” which she anticipates will reach 1,800 children per year. Classes taken on board will be taught by a certified elementary art teacher. The bus has already been approved by school officials, and Hand is now focusing on fundraising to ensure that the program will have all of its needed supplies. She believes that bringing the arts back into students’ lives now will have a positive impact on their futures.

Hand has the opportunity to turn this vision into reality after winning a $5,000 prize package from the “Make Your Mark” contest, a partnership between DailyCandy and Bayer, which recognizes women who are driven to make their mark on their local communities. In addition, Hand will be honored in a photo collection by legendary portrait photographer, Annie Leibovitz, alongside other inspiring women who have found unique ways to make their mark on society.

The “Make Your Mark” contest was inspired by the 50th Anniversary of the Pill. The campaign received thousands of applicants and selected three winners. The winners’ stories and online photo book will be posted on the campaign Web site, www.FiftyYearsofthePill.com.

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