By Karen Christian

When Covid-19 shut Sacramento down, we teamed up with local artists and essential service partners to create Color Us Hopeful, a unique, innovative, and uplifting gift to the community in the form of a coloring book unlike any other. Designed in partnership with local artists and distributed by essential service workers, Color Us Hopeful aims to provide inspiration for younger members of the community who may be feeling especially isolated, unsettled, and disconnected. (That said, we found that many adults can’t help but pick up a crayon once they open the book up and start exploring.)

Imagined just a few weeks ago by the Crocker’s Director of Education, Stacey Shelnut-Hendrick, and conceptualized and organized by the Crocker’s Block by Block outreach team, Color Us Hopeful is designed to bring the community together through art. As part of its ongoing support of local creatives, the Crocker gathered fifteen local artists of diverse cultural, socioeconomic, and gender/lifestyle backgrounds to create a coloring book that everyone can celebrate and relate to. Each page is presented in both English and Spanish, with a photo and description of the local artist who created it. The back of the book is filled with creative resources and tips for artful exploration that everyone can follow, even during social distancing.

The coloring book was distributed online and by essential service workers, like the George Sim Community Center (pictured).

The Crocker’s primary goal is to deliver a physical version of the book to members of the community who may not have access to the internet or computers or may not have ways to remain engaged with the world and their friends.

More than 2,500 copies of Color Us Hopeful were distributed to children served by essential service organizations. At some community centers, for example, the books were distributed with meals that the children and their parents and guardians could take home.

Although the physical books and Crocker pencil packs are earmarked for specific children in the community with emphasis on residents of Sacramento’s Promise Zone, the Crocker’s Block by Block team made a digital version of the book available for free, so that creatives of all ages across the globe can enjoy its art and inspiration. (You can download it HERE.)

A George Sim Community Center visitor shows off a completed COLOR US HOPEFUL page, designed by Jupiter.

Please share this link with the communities you serve, with well wishes from all of us at s Crocker Art Museum.

List of Participating Artists

Aik Brown
Miles Toland
Franceska Gamez
Aliyah Sidqe
Jose Di Gregorio
Kaia Minor
Chaitra Bangalore
Shonna McDaniels

The cover of Color Us Hopeful , designed by Aik Brown.

Meyo Marrufo
Lin Fei Fei
The Black Da Vinci
Aida Lizalde
Carmeli Hocson

Printer: Robinson Anderson Print & Fulfillment (Elk Grove)

Color Us Hopeful is made possible in part by Bank of America, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Murphy Austin Adams Schoenfeld LLP, and Sacramento Office of Art & Culture.

Top Image: A visitor to the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum shares one of her favorite artists (and art) from COLOR US HOPEFUL.