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ARTworks Program

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 as the basis for all 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.

During the 2015-16 school year, the ARTworks program sent museum-sanctioned artist instructors into 100 3rd and 4th grade public school classrooms in Idaho Falls, provided 90 art lessons to 13 elementary schools in rural outlying areas, 64 art visits to eight Headstart preschool classrooms, and monthly art visits to 3B Juvenile Detention Center and State Hospital South.

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?

During our visits to 3rd and 4th grade classrooms, one of the lessons we offered highlighted a variety of portraits from our biennial “ART Idaho” exhibit and the museum’s permanent collection. Students viewed examples of a variety of styles of portraits, compared and contrasted their differences, and then created a stylized self-portrait. Through this process, student were able to experiment with different styles of portrait making and synthesize these approaches to create their own outcome.
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 the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

At the conclusion of the lesson students commented:
“Realistic (portraits) show everything. Stylized (portraits) you can include or skip details. ”
“Portraits can show you how people feel.”
“I notice she used lots of warm and bright colors, it shows she feels cheerful and happy.”
“All the portraits are different, mine is like me. I like soft colors. The way I drew my glasses makes it look like me.”
“Exaggerate means make something look bigger. Simplify means take away details.”
“Some artists want to show you exactly what the person looks like. Some artists leave things out and the portrait is mysterious.”
“I thought it was going to be hard to draw myself. It was easy. Now I can draw faces.”


The ARTworks program strives to bring awareness, creativity, and exploration of the visuals arts to members of the community. TAM recognizes that a museum is a resource for learning, and our curriculum is designed to answer essential questions that help us better encourage students to observe art, articulate their observations and demonstrate new awareness in art through hands-on art making processes. By returning to many of the same classrooms each year, TAM instructors help build upon previous art concepts and experiences to broaden student and teacher awareness and skills in the arts. Instructors provide links in learning between the arts and other 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 TAM into the future.


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, employing art vocabulary and extending new learning in hands-on art making processes. From year to year the same teachers participate in the program, and we receive requests from a growing number of new teachers each year. For the past two years, the number of requests for classroom visits has exceeded the number of lessons we are able to offer.

During the 2015-16 school year, 161 visitors utilized the free family pass (distributed to each student participating in the outreach program at the conclusion of the visit) demonstrating students’ interest in exploring artwork at the museum. For many families, this is the first time they have ever visited a museum. TAM exhibit surveys reveal families find exhibits engaging and educational.

ARTworks Program evaluation data collected revealed:
96% of teachers report that during the ARTworks lesson, their students were introduced to new art vocabulary.
93% of teachers report that lessons are clear, concise and engaging.
91% of teachers report their students created a work of art using their personal experience and skills.
98% of teachers report their students discussed how people’s experiences influence and develop styles of work.
93% of teachers report the ARTworks lesson was aligned with the proficiency outcomes as noted in lesson descriptions, and they learned art concepts and techniques that they will use in the classroom in the future.
95% of teachers report the ARTworks lesson successfully taught the objectives that were introduced.