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ARTitorium on Broadway

Idaho Falls Arts Council

This grant supported visual arts field trips for ARTitorium on Broadway. While ARTitorium was able to remain open for the duration of our 2020-21 fiscal year, schools did not start returning for in-person field trips until the spring of 2021. Happily, we were able to support a lot of schools during the last three months of the school year, and we hosted over 3,000 elementary and pre-school students. We also offered Grab n Go field trips for schools that were unable to visit because of COVID restrictions. The goal of the project was to provide low cost access to tools and instruction in the arts to as many young people as possible. The project took place entirely at ARTitorium on Broadway in downtown Idaho Falls. We selected this project because art education for kids is a primary focus of our mission and something that requires the most external support in order to keep costs low for the students and the schools.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do life experiences influence the way you relate to art? What can we learn from our responses to art?

Our field trips are designed to provide instruction in a particular artistic style, technique, or subject matter. Education Specialist Julie Hill presents a lesson, during which students complete small art projects at different points that relate to the content being taught and demonstrate their understanding of the concept. We provide guidance and examples for the projects, but do not limit or discourage the students in their approach to the work. Open discussion is encouraged, and Julie prompts students to think about the processes that an artist used to create an artwork, the visual components that make up the artwork, and the fact that everyone might have a slightly different response to the work. As a result of participation in a field trip, students should be able to speculate about processes an artist uses to create a work of art (VA:Re.7.1.3a), compare their own interpretation of a work to that of their friends (VA:Re.7.1.5a), and analyze components in visual imagery that convey messages (VA:Re.7.2.4a).

At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

Education Specialist Julie Hill always conducts a quick verbal survey with students after completing a field trip. She then collects the student comments. We find this informal, open-ended approach is the best way to get honest student feedback about the experience. These quotes are all in response to the question “What did you learn today?”
-”Art doesn’t need to be pretty to be art. [What does that mean?] Like not cute, but just something.” -MiKensie, Monticello Montessori 3rd & 4th Grade
– “Art doesn’t have to be impressive to anyone but you.” -Mia, Monticello Montessori 3rd & 4th Grade
– “I learned to take up your space is good. Who knew you could fill in all the white? That was fun.” -Mountain View 2nd Grade
– “I learned that sometimes it is ok to make up stuff in your art, even if you don’t exactly know how to draw it. Like a monkey.” -Burton Elementary 2nd Grade
– “I could find fun things to do in the painting. I would like a tramp [trampoline] and some fun stuff for outside. I learned I liked the picture. Maybe not at first but if I could be in it. Then I would.” -6th grade field trip

Impact

From ARTitorium Education Specialist Julie Hill:
“This year we had a curve ball thrown at us because of the COVID pandemic. We usually have in-person field trips all year, and we were not able to have large groups for many months. In order to still provide art enrichment to students, we came up with the idea of making a Grab n Go field trip. I wrote out instructions for a modified field trip and then included all the supplies the students would need, with the exception of basics like pencils, markers, and glue. We were then able to pack individual bags for at home instruction or in class packs for in person instruction. The thing that we heard over and over again from the teachers was how much they appreciated having art in a ready-to-go format. It was a year that teachers were struggling to get all the basics in, and they were happy to have an enrichment opportunity that was ready to go with all the instructions. One teacher told us that she had a girl that worked on one project for days in her spare time. It just showed me how much kids need art, even in unsettling times.”

Reflection

From ARTitorium Education Specialist Julie Hill:
“We love having students come to our facility. We have a good set-up for exposing them to art and teaching them to think about the art they look at. It works well but we were only able to do that for the last couple of months of the year because of COVID restrictions. Since we were closed to groups as large as schools needed to bring, we had to change directions in our delivery. We were able to do that by sending our lessons out to the schools when they couldn’t come to us. It was not the ideal way to do things and we were happy and overwhelmed when schools could come back. They flooded into our building and we were full to bursting. The biggest thing we learned was to be flexible and creative and keep our eye on the goal of providing students with art experiences. it felt especially valuable this year as students’ lives were disrupted. Of course we would have rather had an in-person experience with the students, but we were able to change directions and help the schools. I would urge others involved with school projects to be mindful of what the students might need even in trying times and approach situations with creativity. These two things helped us to navigate the events as they unfolded and still work with the schools.”

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