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ARTworks Education Program

The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho

The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho (TAM) operates in the public trust as a museum of service and as a regional leader in the visual arts. TAM promotes the power of the arts to educate, inspire and enhance the lives of individuals of all ages and abilities in eastern Idaho. To ensure the arts are an integral part of living for the youngest to the oldest citizen, TAM showcases rotating art exhibits, acquires and displays artwork, particularly works by Idaho artists, and provides extensive art educational opportunities. Through its ARTworks education program (originally developed in 2003 to fill the void left by significant funding cuts for the arts in school districts), museum educators take art processes based on TAM’s art exhibits and permanent collection into regional elementary school classrooms to strengthen students’ understanding of and skills in the arts, provide guided exhibit tours with related art lessons, and provide visual arts educational opportunities for area educators.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

Can pairing professional artists with teachers and students inspire and empower art-making in their classrooms?

Our essential question guides the ARTworks educational activities at TAM and in school classrooms across the region. TAM’s curriculum addresses core art principles, examines art history, and offers challenging art-making techniques with guided hands-on opportunities for personal expression of newfound skills and understanding. Art offerings are designed to encourage discussion and divergent thinking, promote understanding of the viewed artist’s process through individual exploration, and allow for individual expression followed by group discussion of the challenges and discoveries made during the creative process.
In preparing lessons and conducting program evaluations, we address the following National Core Arts Standards:
6. Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. VA:Cr1.2
7. Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. VA:Cr2.1; VA:Cr2.2
8. Anchor Standard 3: Refine and complete artistic work. VA:Cr3.1

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

During the Picasso’s Guitar Outreach lesson, the following Core Arts Standards Essential Questions were addressed:
Anchor Standard 1: What conditions, attitudes, and behaviors support creativity and innovative thinking? …
Anchor Standard 2: How do artists work?…
Anchor Standard 3: What role does persistence play in revising, refining, and developing work?…
At the conclusion of the lesson students responded:
“Cubists show different sides of something at the same time.”
“Picasso and Braque were inspired by inventors like the Wright Brothers.”
“Complimentary colors are ‘frienemies,’ they look great next to each other but when you mix them they make brown.”
“I created a distorted guitar, but I really liked learning to draw a realistic one too.”
“Distorted means you melt all the shapes but they stay in the same order.”

Impact

I was surprised and delighted to see so many students find confidence in their drawing abilities. We used close observational drawing techniques to draw a guitar. We then explored how to use our knowledge of the shapes and lines that make up the guitar to distort, simplify and draw it in a cubist style. Students who at the beginning of the project felt apprehensive about their drawing abilities were visibly proud of the outcome of the final project.

Teachers commented:
“Super job! The students remembered what you shared with them last year!”

“The program was wonderful. (Nikki) used lots of 3rd-grade terms and was able to engage them. The class was organized and I couldn’t believe my students created such cool artwork that they were so proud of. Thank you for a great experience!”

“I love that the Artworks teachers come prepared with all of their supplies. They teach engaging lessons that make the students think and explore.”

“Such a fantastic lesson! The complex style was simplified for the students. Classroom management was awesome!”

“Alexa was great about meeting and working with the many different needs of my students.”

“Very engaging and relevant! Everyone participated and was proud of their art.”

Reflection

Working with diverse artists from the community strengthens our program. A newly hired artist instructor who recently retired from teaching fourth grade brought a fresh perspective on some of the ways we sequence the outreach lessons and also helped us improve the technology we use throughout the ARTworks program. Her extensive classroom experience paired with her passion for teaching art helped the program grow in new ways and inspire new approaches.

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