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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 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.

During the 2016-17 school year, the ARTworks program sent museum-sanctioned artist instructors into 112 3rd and 4th grade public school classrooms in Idaho Falls, provided 67 art lessons to 13 elementary schools in rural outlying areas, 63 monthly 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?

Our essential question guides the ARTworks educational outreach 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.

In conjunction with our exhibit “SARA; Myths, Dreams, and Dramatic Episodes” students explored the work of Idaho artist Sara Joyce. Students viewed examples of her work, compared and contrasted this work with modern artists including Henri Matisse, and then created a collage. Through this process, students used their own memories or dreams as a starting point for their compositions and also created a small handmade journal.

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 ARTworks classroom visits, students commented:
“Collage is drawing with your scissors.”
“Some of my cuts were mistakes, but I like how they turned out.”
“Sara worked on her art her whole life. Artists have to practice every day.”
“My dream is mysterious so I used mysterious colors and dark colors in my collage.”
“I am flying in my dream. I cut curves for the wind to show I was flying.”
“My final idea changed from my sketch. I think it is better!”
“Sara used anything she could find to make books. Now I know how to make my own books like Sara.”


The ARTworks program strives to bring awareness, creativity, and exploration of the visuals arts to elementary school classrooms across eastern Idaho. 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 the arts at TAM and in our community for the future.

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


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, extending new learning in hands-on art making processes and creating unique and personal works of art. From year to year many of the same teachers participate in the program. The number of requests for classroom visits annually exceeds the number of lessons we are able to offer.

During the 2016-17 school year, 207 ARTworks participants and their families utilized the free family pass they received at the end of the outreach 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.
94% 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.
95% of teachers report the ARTworks lesson successfully taught the objectives that were introduced.

Classroom teachers comments:
“This is always a favorite activity for our students, one they talk about all year.” – Candace Sewell, Burton Elem.
“My children enjoyed the ARTworks lesson, instructor was very thorough in presenting, demonstrating and encouraging creativity. Loved the art form and the student’s creations. Thank you for encouraging the arts for young people.” -Ima Hale,