• December 25, 2014

Instructor’s traveling art school inspired by Haitian buses

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Posted: Friday, January 3, 2014 4:30 am

A tap tap bus, a popular and colorful mode of transportation in Haiti, can be spotted along Central Texas roadways.

Amelia Rabroker, a Heights resident and art teacher at Iduma Elementary School, transformed an orange school bus to connect others to her love of art.

Like the buses in Haiti, the Tap Tap Art School bus is covered in art. Traditionally, the artwork includes graphics of various themes, including biblical, sports and commercial. The name “tap tap” came from passengers who would tap the ceiling of the bus to get off.

Rabroker taught art classes at community centers and other Central Texas venues, but she had a vision to take her classroom on the road and reach out to all areas via a traveling schoolroom.

“Advocating the visual arts has been my lifelong passion,” she said. “After graduating from Baylor University with a degree in elementary education and a specialization in art education, I was fortunate to start my career at Killeen ISD ... where I have had the privilege to mold thousands of children into little artists.”

Rabroker began teaching fourth grade at Clear Creek Elementary School, where she created an after-school art club. Her idea caught on, and she currently has contracts with private schools and offers party plans and summer programs.

Belton’s Harris Community Center didn’t have any art offerings until Rabroker came wheeling along.

“Her program has been an overwhelming success for us. We are incredibly happy and parents are incredibly happy with the work she does,” said Matt Bates, recreation coordinator. “We hope to maximize her talents again over the summer.”

After 10 years of “wonderful experiences and professional growth” she decided it was time for her to change and grow in a different direction.

“Instead taking kids off campus, I come to them,” she said. “For the kids, it’s like they are taking a field trip without the liability aspect of actually going off campus.”

Vividly painted a Kelly green with air-brushed graphics, the art bus no longer resembles a traditional school bus. Airbrush artist Van Otto painted images Rabroker chose to create a vibrant and welcoming home for her business.

Venturing outside of a classroom stemmed from Rabroker’s desire to have a more flexible schedule to spend more quality time with her children, Clayton, 13, and Cecilia, 2.

“(The idea) came like a bolt of light. I was on my way to pick up my daughter from school, and was wanting to have a more flexible schedule,” she said. “I thought, why not have a traveling art school?”

To learn more about art classes, go to www.taptapartschool.com.

vlynch@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7567

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