Community Service: Kids Meet Art

May 1, 1997

NEW ORLEANS--Latter & Blum of New Orleans and C.J. Brown real estate company of Baton Rouge recently bought a new van--the second one the company's provided--for the New Orleans Museum of Art's Van Go Museum-on-Wheels program. The real estate companies, along with a local TV station, has supported the program for eight years.

The van travels to schools around New Orleans and Baton Rouge so that kids can view pieces from the museum's collection at close range and learn about art and artists through lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on sessions.

"Art--sculpture, photography, painting, and music--has always been a vital part of New Orleans history, and we want to make sure young kids still experience it," says Arthur Sterbcow, president of Latter & Blum. "Van Go gives them a chance to ask, 'Who was Van Gogh?' It starts a dialogue."

"As a company, we try to be as active as possible in promoting the arts throughout the entire school system."

As the colorful van tools around New Orleans and its environs, it's also a rolling ad for the services provided by Latter & Blum and C.J. Brown. Bottom line: It's good for business. Sterbcow says he has enough love letters from people who've enjoyed Van Go to fill a duffel bag.

"When transferees come in, we tell them about the museum and all the great art programs in New Orleans. There's civilization down here, and it's pretty highbrow stuff."

Elyse Umlauf-Garneau is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former senior editor with REALTOR® Magazine.

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