In the 2016-2017 school year, over 750 of Idaho’s students in 14 schools participated in Artspowered Schools artist residencies. These residencies foster dynamic and meaningful collaborations between classroom teachers and teaching artists in the areas of Visual Art, Dance, Theater, and Creative Writing/ Storytelling. This fall the Idaho Commission on the Arts will present Arts Grow Learning, a professional touring exhibition of original student artworks and writing produced in the residencies.

Sacred Animals of Native Americans in Fiber Art was a collaboration between Lizette Fife, a Visual Artist and teachers Kathy Duplessis and Becca Fish at the White Pine Charter School in Idaho Falls. Kindergarten students became familiar with the people and ways of life of Native American tribes or nations. They learned about beliefs and stories and the current status of that tribe or nation as well as the role of sacred animals in Native American cultures. They observed shapes and colors in art and nature and explored characteristics of animals by tracing the shapes in animal faces. They selected, researched, and explored an animal, then portrayed it in a fiber art-hooked rug. Yarn colors were chosen by student artists to emphasize details and create contrast. Each student dictated or wrote an Artist Statement about their art that will be displayed with their Sacred Animal hooked rug.

“One of our favorite parts was when the Native American speaker Leah Hardy came and did her presentation to the class and brought her buffalo skull for them to see and touch. We really enjoyed her broadening our concept of animals for example the strength of an ant and the power of a mosquito to drive people away even though they are small comparatively to other animals.” ~ Becca Fish, teacher