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ARTworks

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 classroom?

Our essential question guides the ARTworks educational activities that take place 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 during Weaving Anni Albers Outreach lesson, the following Core Arts Standards Enduring 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?…

As students reflected on their experience at the conclusion of the Weaving lesson, they made the following statements:

-Anni was a girl so she couldn’t take all the classes at her school. That’s why she tried weaving.
-Anni Albers was a weaver. She was the first weaver to have an art show in a big museum.
-Artists that weave have to make a plan and follow it. My plan was tricky but it turned out good.
Anni liked the patterns in rugs from Peru, but she didn’t copy them, she made her own.
-I didn’t know you could weave paper.
-You can weave yarn, leather, plants even paper!
-I used warm colors for my strips and cools for my loom.
-I messed up my weaving at first, but the second time I got it.
-I really enjoyed using oil pastels, loved learning about the new artist, and enjoyed weaving!

Impact

Taking the ARTworks outreach program to regional schools via zoom presented many challenges, technology being one of the greatest. Many teachers were unsure if they had the experience to successfully stream the lesson in their classroom. To overcome this challenge, the ARTworks instructors held practice zoom sessions after school for all teachers interested in participating. This allowed us to trouble shoot the needs and challenges in each school and ensure the success of each virtual lesson.

The teacher comments below reflect that, while not ideal, providing lessons virtually was a success under the challenging circumstances.
-I was a little skeptical about how it would go via Zoom, but it exceeded my expectations! Alexa was really good about pacing and keeping the kids engaged.
-Thank you to Ms. Earnest for an amazing lesson! I felt it went very well, especially for our first time doing a virtual visit!
-I loved the pattern concept. Students are being introduced to Area model in mathematics and outlining in writing. It was good timing.
-We were thrilled to be able to participate in this art lesson! We were happy that it continued with precautions.
-I was very impressed with how smoothly this lesson went using Zoom!

Reflection

The challenges presented during the 2020-21 school year required us to be creative and innovative in the ways we could continue to make an impact and serve our community. Developing a method to offer our outreach virtually to schools in the region will continue to be an option for schools in remote areas. While we would still offer an in-person option to these schools, we could potentially offer them a second visit remotely later in the year. This could be a helpful method of reaching underserved and rural schools for other organizations that offer similar services. In-person hands-on art experiences were greatly missed by teachers, students and museum educators. Moving forward we have a renewed appreciation for these unique experiences.

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