Miss A Columnist

Adrienne Erin is an artist turned freelance writer who studied studio art and animation in a tiny town in central Ohio, but has worked in fields as diverse as career development, design, and public relations since. Now she resides in central Pennsylvania, but she takes the train or hops behind the wheel to visit nearby Philadelphia often. She blogs and ghost writes for a number of sites, but you can find some of her work on her personal blog, Pongra.

Her love of travel was ignited by her time spent studying art abroad in Paris, France. Since then, her travels have taken her across France, as far as the Czech Republic, and even to the site of the Chernobyl accident, not to mention more than a dozen US states. She is an avid road tripper, and has loved long distance driving since she first got behind the wheel of her car.

When she’s not on the go, she loves cooking, collage, and obsessing over vintage postcards. She frequently participates in mail exchanges and loves Skyping in French with her faraway friends. Please follow her on Twitter at @adrienneerin.

VanGo! Brings Art On Wheels To Low-Income Communities

If you’re a Central Pennsylvanian with a passion for art but traveling to a museum is too far, the VanGo! Mobile museum can bring the art to you. Established in 1992 as a part of the Susquehanna Art Museum, this art-gallery-on-wheels helps bring original works of art to places where art is hard to find. The VanGo! art gallery visits 60-65 community establishments yearly including public schools,  nursing homes , schools for students with disabilities, libraries, and art festivals. With art as its medium, the VanGo! bus helps to bring education, culture and inspiration to visitors everywhere it goes.

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The VanGo! bus gears up for another season bringing art to low-income communities. (Photo credit: PennLive)

As the VanGo! bus’ mission is to educate visitors about art and its mediums and influences, it is heavily centered around the Pennsylvania public school system. The bus runs yearly from September through July – the months that school is in session. Each year the theme of the bus’s gallery is centered around the Pennsylvania state standards for education so that teachers can integrate the art on the VanGo! bus even deeper into the classroom. When the bus visits schools, an informative introductory assembly precedes the art gallery tour and explains the theme of the gallery. Teachers can also download a curriculum guide that can be used in the classroom even after the bus drives away.

Each year the artwork on the mobile museum has a focus on community and culture, providing not just beautiful pieces of art, but a message as well. As the VanGo! bus has roots in the Keystone State, several past exhibits have been centered around Pennsylvania artists, making the gallery accessible and relatable. Other themes offer visitors a wider worldview and include works from international artists depicting culture from around the globe. The artwork in the gallery varies from sculptures, paintings, textiles and multimedia, offering something beautiful for all visitors to appreciate.

The bus showcases original artwork from artists based in Pennsylvania and beyond. (Photo credit: Susquehanna Art Museum)

The bus showcases original artwork from artists based in Pennsylvania and beyond. (Photo credit: Susquehanna Art Museum)

If your organization is located within 2-2.5 hours of Harrisburg and would like to host the VanGo! Gallery, scheduling a visit is easy. As this bus is home to pieces of priceless, original artwork, there is a fee for a visit to your establishment. However, due to substantial grants and donations, the cost of the bust has been considerably reduced, making the bus even more accessible to nonprofit organizations and low-income communities. As only 15-18 visitors can be in the bus at once, if the number of people that will be attending the VanGo! Gallery is fairly large, renting the bus for two days will ensure everyone gets a chance to see the art. In addition, the bus is fully handicap accessible, making it possible for everyone to experience the gallery.

The bus travels around Harrisburg and surrounding areas. (Photo credit: Susquehanna Art Museum)

The bus travels around Harrisburg and surrounding areas. (Photo credit: Susquehanna Art Museum)

If you’re eagerly awaiting your turn on the bus, or you’ve already been one of the 350,000 visitors and can’t get enough, check out VanGo!’s online resources. For kids (or kids at heart) there is an interactive VanGO! website with a virtual art gallery, games and quizzes as well as ideas to get your creative juices flowing. The VanGo! website also provides you with all the information you need about the traveling art-mobile. If you loved the gallery and wish to make a donation, you can do so easily online. Personal donations or donations from large businesses such as Triple Crown Rentals that wish to be a sponsor can all be helped on the VanGo! website. If you’re not the next stop on the bus route but have a set of wheels of your own, visit the Susquehanna Art Museum. Located in Harrisburg, you will find a large collection of art and culture while spending time in Pennsylvania’s capitol city.

The VanGo! mobile art museum is sure to inspire anyone who experiences it, not only due to the amazing artwork, but also its community efforts and philanthropic mission. As the bus brings art, culture and inspiration to schools and low-income areas, it helps everyone from school children to senior citizens understand the world around them and awaken their creative spirit. If you’re lucky enough to take part in the VanGo! traveling art gallery, be prepared to learn about art and culture while being dazzled by the most beautiful bus you will ever set foot on.

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