RUMFORD, Maine — A local tattoo artist gave back to the community Wednesday afternoon by donating several boxes of art supplies to three after-school programs in Rumford, Mexico and Auburn.

Kris Howes, owner of Ink Maine on Congress Street in Rumford, raised the money for the art supplies by auctioning off collaborative art pieces at the Fuel the Arts tattoo expo in Lewiston two weekends ago.

“We put our art out on the table and accepted donations for them,” Howes explained. “We always try to raise money for the after-school programs in the area, because it’s nice to let something trickle back to the community. This year, we made a little more than we have in the past, so we had enough to buy supplies for three different after-school programs.”

Howes said he donated supplies to the after-school programs for Meroby Elementary School, Rumford Elementary School and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Auburn/Lewiston in Auburn. On Wednesday afternoon, Howes and another Ink Maine employee brought several boxes filled with paint, glue, clay, construction paper and other supplies to the Mexico Recreation Center, where Meroby Elementary School hosts its after-school program.

“I cannot wait to dig into this stuff and see what’s here,” said Becky Skibitsky, the after-school program coordinator for Meroby Elementary School.

While Howes brought in the supplies, students asked him questions about being a tattoo artist and how tattoos are made.

One student approached Howes and asked, “Can I have a tattoo?”

Howes laughed and said, “You guys are where I started off when I was young. I did paintings and drawings in school too, and now I do art for a living.”

Skibitsky asked Howes to explain the importance of fundraising for the community to the student.

“It’s important because it’s nice to give back and push the arts,” Howes said. “Nobody seems to back art, especially in Rumford. I just wanted to give something back.”