RED Hearts: Public Supply Notebooks

FP_Notebook RED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today.

Today’s RED Hearts post is from RED author Cindy Morand, 24, in NYC, who extols the power of a simple, but mighty, notebook:

Sometimes even a blank notebook tells a story. These notebooks from Brooklyn-based Public Supply are not only beautiful, but they also support underfunded arts programs in public schools: The company donates 25 percent of their profits to teachers in a high-need classrooms, to put toward a project that inspires creativity.

As political and fiscal challenges mount, American public schools and education continue to lose funding, especially for the arts. The effect of this is that everyone suffers -- from the amazing teachers who have had to spend their own money on basic supplies for their classrooms to, well, the country’s future.

Arts are essential for students’ self-discovery (when it’s all happening) and help develop creative skills that are important to all aspects of life. Revolutionaries such as Steve Jobs -- who frequently credited courses he took, including calligraphy and typography, for inspiring innovative thinking -- combined art with technology to create products that changed our lives.

As for my own life, I used art to express myself when I moved to New York City from Mexico. I was 13 years old, in a public high school, and I spoke only Spanish and French. Growing up, my father taught me the importance of art and enrolled me in painting classes, but the new school and new country made me appreciate it even more. It was never so clear to me that art is a universal language; its symbolism allows others to understand messages. With it, I could beautify a space or paint my emotions. I could feel less alone.

This is a lot for a notebook to do. It’s complicated, but at the same time, as the company’s website says, “The Public Supply mission is simple: to support creative work in our country’s public schools.” Each gorgeous, minimal notebook ($12, or $32 for a pack of three) has a tracking number so you can view the school project that benefits from your purchase.

And tomorrow, the company takes its mission to Brazil: 100 percent of sales from a limited-edition notebook ($18, pictured), with a cover by Dutch artists Haas and Hahn, will go to a program that supports painting and career workshops for kids living in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.

Art can benefit society, help achieve goals, beautify landscapes and bring joy in the midst of chaos. You also get a notebook that’s too cool for schools.


RED Hearts guest poster Cindy Morand is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.