Art pen pals: let’s get this party started!

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277 kids in 40 US states, 20 countries, and 6 continents will be sending their artwork and letters through the mail and around the world to each other. Woohoo! And while I did question my sanity a few times (especially when doing data entry at midnight), I can't tell you how excited I am about this! Really, very excited!

Everyone should have received matches by now. If not, please e-mail me ([email protected]). I may have typed up an e-mail address incorrectly or something.

Next step?

Make art.

Send to pen pal.

With or without letter.


I would love to keep this art pen pal idea growing and spreading somehow,
especially since there is obviously an interest and I keep getting more
and more e-mails! However, to borrow an expression from Harrison Shepherd, the lead character in Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna, my data entry assistant and I reside in the same shoes.* And my own family would like me to spend more time with them and less in front of the computer.

Enter: Flickr

So I started a Flickr group, titled Children's Art Gallery. You are all hereby cordially invited to post your children's art work to this site (with your kid's permission). And please do! I'd love to see it!

The Flickr gallery is for everyone, not just art pen pal participants, however I was also thinking that parents seeking art pen pals for their children could post a comment in the discussion section: "Seeking art pen pal for my 6 year old son." etc. and find a match that way. I have virtually no experience with Flickr — does this sound doable?

Okay, enough for today. Let's get some art flying around the world!

* Shepherd and Kingsolver put it much more elegantly, of course. In a letter to his publisher, Shepherd (a writer) said,

Your letter made reference to my secretary-typist, to whom you plan to forward more notations. Be assured, the secretary-typist will be in intimate contact with the author, the telephone receptionist, cook, and housekeeper, as we all presently inhabit the same four-dollar shoes. With clothing-ration coupons as they are, it's a useful arrangement. (p.294)

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  1. rachel says

    thank you for the matches, jean! the boys are very excited. we mailed art, little intro letters, and even a few pics of the fam today!

  2. ginger says

    Finally getting around to telling you my favorite blogs.
    Your’s— my number one favorite
    Chasing Cheerios
    The Write Start
    Crafty Crow
    Sorry that I didn’t do links. Google and will come up very easily.

  3. says

    Thank you so much for all your hard work. My daughter is over the moon about her art pen pal in South America.

  4. says

    Do you have any kids from Toronto yet?
    My daughter (8) would love to be in on this.
    (Came here after searching for crafty ideas for the Art Day I run at my house for four to six year olds.)

  5. Stephanie says

    I posted on the Flicker website but if you have anyone interested. I have 3 boys: 9, 6, and 2 1/2. We would even be willing to do multiple families. This is such an awesome idea and helps fulfill some of my oldest’s cub scout requirements. :-) Thanks again.

  6. Stéphanie says

    If we can join you, now or later, we’d love to! My son, Alex, is 4.5 and loves art and posting/getting letters. We’re French and live near Paris. Thanks! Stéphanie

  7. says

    I realize we’re a bit late, but we live in central Canada and our 6 year old daughter would love to be an art pen pal. If there are any interested kids still unmatched, please keep her in mind. Follow your blog regularly and love the fantastic ideas you share :)

  8. Connors Mom says

    Hi Jean, I wonder if by chance my emails are not getting to you…sniff sniff. My emails were to register my 2 year old son Connor to the Art Pen Pal Program. Can you take a look and let me know if you have him on your list? Thank you so much for putting this together. We are so SUPER excited about it. Thanks! Jennie

  9. Connors Mom says

    Hi Stephanie, My son is 2 years and 3 months…would your son be interested in being art pals? :)