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Education and Outreach Program

Prichard Art Gallery

Located in Moscow, ID, the University of Idaho Prichard Art Gallery Education Outreach Program’s mission is to facilitate first-person experiences with significant works of contemporary art. This takes place through three distinct but related programs. Docent led tours for K-12 students have the greatest reach. Schools from as far away as Coeur d’Alene and Kendrick participate. After School Art Programs (ASAP) has 2-3 dozen annual participants, many coming to almost every session, has the greatest depth of engagement. Summer Art Camp gives time over the course of a week to be more elaborate and ambitious. In a world ever more driven by visual communication, we believe that arts education is fundamental to the development of engaged citizens capable of understanding and appreciating the complexities of our world. Creating students who are capable producers, and discerning consumers of images is crucial. Learning by observation and reflection and translating that into doing are central to our gallery education practice. Our program adds depth for teachers who feel comfortable with art, expertise and knowledgeable instruction for those that don’t, and extended opportunities for parents who want more artistic activity for their children.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

Anchor Standard 4, “Why do people value objects, artifacts, and artworks and select them for presentation?”

The following Core Art Anchor Standards provide an outline of the goals and objectives related to our broad programming.
Re: Anchor Standard #7 Perceive and analyze artistic work
Re: Anchor Standard #8 Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work
Docent led tours provide many opportunities for students to perceive, analyze and interpret meaning in artwork. Tours are designed for dialogue between the Docent and students to keep minds engaged and responsive to what is being viewed.
Cr: Anchor Standard #1 Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Cr: Anchor Standard #2 Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Cn: Anchor Standard#10 Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.
Cn: Anchor Standard #11 Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural and historical context to deepen understanding.
The hands on art activity portion of Docent led tours, ASAP, a well as other special projects give students an outlet to put their own ideas into motion. During a tour they are relating to knowledge they just learned in the gallery about particular artists and artwork. During ASAP and special projects they are developing their own ideas and skills for various ways to communicate via visual art.

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

Whether a class visits the gallery multiple times in one year, or over the course of their K-12 education they are made aware of the relevance artists have in our culture to communicate ideas through visual platforms. Young people are naturally insightful and observant, approaching artworks in a very honest and curious manner.
Volunteer docents lead guided inquiry of works of art on display, allowing children’s imaginations to make connections. Moving to a creative activity, students create using concepts introduced during the tour. This direct engagement between looking and making helps to cement ideas. This is important for classrooms with only one opportunity to engage with original works of art led by someone with specialized training to do so.
We want to inspire a creative life. Our goal is to increase the tools students have to approach learning. There are visual learners who may not excel to their potential in a traditional school day. By giving them additional avenues to approach learning they can be successful through an increased visual understanding. We have programs that provide deep engagement and create artistic growth over an extended time frame. We look at this framework as a “T,” broad and thin for some, in-depth for others. The goal is to give each a chance to use the arts in their lives and be involved citizens.

Impact

During the tour, docents make formative assessments of the students understanding using Visual Thinking Strategies, and carefully formatted questions related to the tour material. Performance-Based assessments determine whether they need to review material or generate additional examples to solidify concepts. Our impact is documented through the artwork made in the art lesson in relation to the goals and objectives in the lesson plan.
“I had a child from Spain who spoke very little English and was introverted. They began to open up. Painting was a favorite medium, their face would light up and create beautiful colorful pieces. The Child’s mother soon explained that the colors were based off of the home in Spain. The ASAP creative process was helping the child cope with the drastic change in culture.”
“After participating in my art lesson making animal sculptures out of scrap wood pieces and making recycled paper from different colors of paper, an 8 year old student proudly announced that we can make art out of anything by recycling it and turning it into something totally different. The materials are free and our imagination is free.”
“A 9 year old said what is so cool about art is it is not like math with one right answer. Everyone is this group has made something totally different and we are all right!”

Reflection

Each year the Prichard Education Outreach Program builds on established relationships with youth and schools, as well as forges new relationships, and opens eyes to the exceptional resource a contemporary art gallery can be for a well-rounded education. This year we exhibited a scrim covered geodesic dome with projections of water, a near life-size video of 3 dancers on stage with 24 drones, and work from a collaborative project pairing artists with scientists. We present some of the most intriguing contemporary art and build our programs around that.
Through our programs, teachers and students are enriched through specialized tours and lessons that support the characteristics of a quality arts education curriculum, including opportunities to learn about art history, artists, and their cultures. Students engage in hands on activities that bring art to life and extend classroom instruction through direct response. With continued support we can keep meeting the needs for youth to examine and respond through the creative process of art making and observation. We always seek to increase the amount of individuals, classes, and schools that could benefit from access to our programs.
Funding for the education coordinator position was eliminated. This impacted the scope and development of programs that had seen significant growth. Despite this fact, a dedicated group of volunteer docents and paid educations continued our core services. This demonstrated a commitment to the outreach programs to sustain them. Proposals to fund the position permanently have been submitted and we await the outcome. We had replicated our Prichard programs in Troy ID, about 25 minutes away, and were looking at other communities to expand into. This has been the primary loss that we hope to regain along with the greater depth of engagement with local schools.

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