ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Daniya was in the cafeteria at Fairmount Park Elementary when the third-grader saw the big colorful canvas rumble into her school’s parking lot.
“The art bus is here! The art bus is here!” Daniya said. “I was so happy.”
She was soon painting on the side of the bus: a blue emoji cat, her favorite.
“I want to show the bus love,” Daniya says.
Her schoolmates were giddily painting all over the bus, from the front to the back, including the wheels and even the bumpers.
“What do we not paint?” asked the woman in charge of this unique project.
“The windows!” the kids shouted.
Artist, teacher and driver, Carrie Boucher gets a hero’s welcome whenever she shows up in the Nomad Art Bus. The bus is focal point of Boucher's non-profit bringing art to kids at struggling schools, group houses and juvenile detention centers.
“What they love is the experience of doing,” says Boucher. “This is how we as people express ourselves.”
Earlier this year the state of Florida slashed the budget for public art programs by almost 90 percent.
Boucher depends on donations and grants to make her program run. Her newest project is the Justice Studio, an in-house studio art program at the 100-bed Pinellas County Juvenile Detention Center.
Earlier this year Boucher was celebrated by the Tampa Bay Lightning as a Community Hero. The team presented her with a $50,000 grant for all the good work she does in Pinellas County.