Molly Lieberman, a fourth-year undergraduate fibers major, is an art teacher at the West Broad Street YMCA and the driving force behind Loop It Up Savannah. The organization helps the community by teaching art skills and art appreciation to local children, but it has also helped some SCAD students realize their own goals.
Loop It Up works with approximately 200 children each week. The program supplements underfunded school art programs and exposes students ages 2-12 to different arts and crafts, including many that are fibers-related.
Under the guidance of volunteers, which include everyone from SCAD students to senior citizens, children are taught to “make things and be nice.”
“As I got to know the kids better, and to understand what school and life was like for them, I started to develop a full art program,” said Lieberman. “[Loop It Up] starts with projects and techniques that are familiar to them and then when everyone feels ready, we learn new things: knitting, crochet, sewing, sculpture, and on and on.”
Classes for younger students start with the absolute basics. After drawing a picture, students are encouraged to glue colored yarns and fibers over the lines of their drawings to create a multimedia piece. This helps students develop fine motor skills and let their true talents shine.
Lieberman started the organization in 2008 with SCAD fibers chair Cayewah Easley and is now running it. What began as classes to teach young children to knit and crochet grew into something more. Lieberman goes to school part-time because she puts so much effort into her local projects.
SCAD students help by donating unneeded art supplies, but they also donate their time. The program has changed some students’ lives as much as it has changed children’s.
“Working with these kids has helped me hone my philosophy of education and the importance of hand and craft work in teaching, and my preference toward textile traditions,” said Paige Streibig, a fourth-year fibers major with a minor in fashion and art history.
Streibig began working with Lieberman late last year after Lieberman started a program that invited volunteers to knit hats to keep local kids warm in the new year.
“I wouldn’t trade my time with these kids or Molly for anything,” said Hannah Hayes, a first-year arts administration graduate student. “I know it sounds totally cliché, but we are really learning from each other – not just about art but about what community means and how we can focus on what connects us rather than our differences.”
After moving to Savannah from Missouri, Hayes found Loop It Up through a SCAD alumnus friend. She’s inspired by the passion and creativity that her young students show, and working on Loop It Up has shaped her future goals.
“Molly and I both have interests, well more like obsessions, with reforming our education system and making sure that every child gets exposure to the arts,” Hayes continued. Loop It Up is our way of making sure the academic holes for these kids are filled. As an arts administration grad student, I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned in my classes more so than I ever thought. So far I’ve made promotional materials and a fundraising plan for Loop It Up, and I plan on helping Molly write a ton of grants over the summer.”
Lieberman emphasized every community has a number of creative ways for people to get involved.
“I would certainly recommend that students, especially those working their way through college, find a way to become part of the local community in ways that are in tune with their interests,” said Lieberman.
Another SCAD student-run organization, Do Good Work, helps pair students with internships and opportunities with nonprofit organizations around Savannah, depending on the talents and interests of the student. Loop It Up has several projects posted with Do Good Work.
“We are always looking for new volunteers!” said Lieberman. “We could always use a few more hands on deck and new ideas!”
Loop It Up is also always looking for donations. While they appreciate any and all donations, they are in need of:
Needles (sewing, tapestry)
Knitting Needles (straight, circular, double point)
Paper – all sizes, weights and colors
Glitter/ glitter glue