Palmetto Bay resident Taylor Davis, known to family and friends as “Tae Tae,” brought a surprise to Coral Reef Elementary School on Friday, Nov. 14, that excited the students and brought a veteran art teacher to tears of joy.
Gathered in the school’s cafeteria, approximately 120 art students, teacher Frances Arango, several teaching aides, principal Christina L. Guerra and Miami- Dade School Board vice chair Dr. Lawrence S. Feldman watched as young student Finnegan Davis took to the stage to introduce her big sister, Taylor.
Announcing that she had brought something for the art students, Taylor stepped aside as the curtains were opened to reveal wrapped boxes containing $5,000 worth of donated art supplies. She also presented two checks for $1,000 each to the school’s art program.
Guerra helped Taylor to coordinate the details behind the surprise presentation. She had praise for the young woman.
“I just want to thank Tae Tae for making it possible for our students at Coral Reef to have an art program where their creativity is limitless,”
Guerra said after the presentation. “These students are so excited and we are fortunate to have someone as amazing and phenomenal as Taylor Davis select Coral Reef Elementary to bring the Traveling Canvas to. We’re very honored. She is making art possible, she’s bringing it to life and helping our kids be creative and enjoy art.”
Davis, who is now a senior at Coral Reef High School, launched a program at age 12 in 2009 when she became concerned about the lack of art supplies at her school due to funding cuts and wrote to a number of manufacturers of art supplies seeking some donated materials.
Executives at the companies were so taken with her eloquent request that they immediately sent some supplies for her school. She created an organization called the Traveling Canvas to continue helping area youngsters through art.
The presentation was a complete surprise to teacher Frances Arango, who has been an art educator for more than 20 years. She teaches second through fifth grade and kindergarten as well. She was overwhelmed. “It’s more than words can really say,” Arango said.
“It was so unexpected; it really was. It will enrich the program here, allow me to do more things with the children and I know they’re going to appreciate it.
“They’re already asking me about the supplies, and I’m telling them everything is for the students. They’re excited and I’m excited. Taylor started at age 12 with this, which is so amazing. What she’s doing deserves recognition.”
Major supply donors to this project included Princeton Art & Brush, Fredrix, Jacquard and Blue Group Media. Taylor’s fundraising through her art store on her website enabled her to present the school with total donations exceeding $7,000.
“It was very special to be able to come here and donate to Coral Reef Elementary,” Davis said. “Also, my sister goes here. She had expressed to me how much she loved Ms. Arango’s class so it’s really nice to do it for a teacher we knew as well. We had art supplies from donors who are sponsors of the Traveling Canvas, a $1,000 check from my organization, and a $1,000 check from Blue Group Media, a local marketing group.”
Davis said she hopes to continue her charitable program. For information visit www.thetravelingcanvas.com.