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The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho

The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho

TAM’s (The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho) mission is to enhance the region’s visual arts experience by exhibiting permanent and rotating art exhibits, encouraging exhibitions of Idaho artists, establishing a permanent collection of contemporary art work, and providing art educational opportunities for the public and artists of all ages and abilities. The ARTworks education program provides TAM with the ability to fulfill this mission by utilizing TAM’s art exhibits and permanent collection as the basis for outreach and art related activities and serves as a vital visual arts resource for local schools, community organizations and families. Each year, ARTworks takes art processes into regional elementary school classrooms to strengthen students’ understanding of and skills in the arts, brings students to TAM for guided exhibit tours with related art lessons, and provides 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 classroom?

Our essential question guides the ARTworks educational activities that take place in school classrooms across the region. TAM’s curriculum addresses core art principles, examine art history, and offer 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 in the creative process.

Bringing hands-on art experiences to area classrooms provided valuable learning experiences to students, served as a resource to area teachers and connected the museum with regional families curious to view and create art.

Documentation data reveals students highly engaged in the learning process, sharing observations, extending new learning in hands-on art making processes and creating unique and personal works of art.

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

In preparing lessons and conducting program evaluations, we also address the 21st Century Learning Outcomes with a focus on Learning and Innovation or the 4 C’s (Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity) and 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 ARTworks classroom visits, students commented:
“Cowboys use a lot of tools that are handmade.” “I didn’t know saddles were art!”
“Looking carefully helps me draw things better.”
“I used cool colors on my boot because I drew a Rainbow trout.”
“I didn’t think that I could draw a boot, but mine turned out great. Practicing your idea helps. ”


The ARTworks program strives to bring awareness, creativity, and exploration of the visuals arts, utilizing the museum resource for learning, our curriculum is designed to encourage students to observe art, articulate observations and demonstrate new awareness in art through hands-on art making processes. By returning to many of the same classrooms each year, instructors help build upon previous art concepts and experiences, broadening student and teacher awareness and skills in the arts. Instructors provide links in learning between disciplines to help teachers integrate the arts into existing curriculum. The ARTworks program promotes the growth and mentoring of the next generation of artists and patrons, thus ensuring the health and viability of the arts at TAM and in our community.

During the 2017-18 school year, the ARTworks program sent museum-sanctioned artist instructors into 74 3rd and 4th grade public school classrooms in Idaho Falls, provided 88 art lessons to 12 elementary schools in rural outlying areas, 72 monthly art visits to eight Headstart preschool classrooms, and monthly art visits to State Hospital South.

In August, TAM collaborated with Idaho Falls school District 91 to launch an in-school art program for all of the 12 elementary schools in their district, contracted with the museum to develop an art curriculum, train 12 art teachers, and provide teacher mentoring throughout the 2017-18 school year, thus deepening the impact our program has in schools in our area.


During the 2017-18 school year, 474 ARTworks participants and their families utilized the free family pass they received at the end of the outreach and tour visits, demonstrating students’ interest in exploring artwork at the museum. For many families, this was the first time they had ever visited a museum.

ARTworks Program evaluation data collected revealed:
99% of teachers report that during the ARTworks lesson, their students were introduced to new art vocabulary and they learned art concepts and techniques that they will use in the classroom in the future.
96% of teachers report that the lesson was aligned with proficiency outcomes as noted in the lesson description.
98% of teachers report their students created a work of art using their personal experience and skills and their students discussed how people’s experiences influence and develop styles of work.
96% of teachers report the ARTworks lesson successfully taught the objectives that were introduced.

Classroom teachers comments:
“”The Art Museum’s Artworks program is an amazing hands-on Art experience for students in our area…I can’t tell you how excited my students are when a real artist comes into the classroom. They have opportunity to view professional art examples, participate in discussions that include and teach them important art vocabulary and techniques. It’s great to see a child who may not excel academically have an opportunity to shine artistically!…”~ Nicholette Johnson, Westside Elem.