Issaquah High’s Victoria Lu Founds Nonprofit Dedicated to Helping Students with Special Needs Through Art Education
Issaquah High School senior Victoria Lu grew up playing the viola and sharing her musical talent with others through performance. This fueled her passion for music and the arts, a passion that was too riveting to keep to herself. Victoria wanted to create greater accessibility to the arts in her community, especially to students with special needs. This ultimately led to her founding the nonprofit SoulArt. SoulArt is dedicated to helping special needs children through providing art instruction, encouraging creative expression, and donating needed arts and crafts supplies to local special education schools.
A team of high school students, who mostly attend Issaquah High School, work year-round to ensure the nonprofit is operating and students have access to the materials they need. “This summer…I concurrently became a volunteer art and music teacher at two special education schools, where I truly got to interact closely with the children. I witnessed firsthand the joy sparkling in their eyes every time I announced we would be doing art and the pride that shone on their faces when they completed their little masterpieces”, Victoria shared. To fuel donations, SoulArt has a wish list on their website of items like craft bags, washable markers, empty paint trays, colored pencils, and more. They also accept monetary donations.
Even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Victoria and her team loaded up their cars with donations and traveled to schools to ensure students had the supplies that they needed. Since its founding, SoulArt has donated a little over 1,000 arts and crafts kits.
Currently, artwork created by students supported by SoulArt is on display at KidsQuest Children’s Museum in Bellevue, and will be for the next month. In the coming year, Victoria hopes to be able to host awareness art exhibitions to continue educating the community about special education challenges, and the continued need for support. Additionally, she hopes to fundraise and gather more supplies to grow their reach, allowing SoulArt to donate to additional schools. She also hopes this will encourage greater participation in art courses and programs at the schools they partner with.