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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 free Docent led tours for students in grades k-12, and additional art making opportunities such as After School Art Programs (ASAP). We believe that arts education is fundamental to the development of engaged citizens capable of understanding and appreciating the complexities of our world.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

Why do people value objects, artifacts, and artworks and select them for presentation?

The Essential Question asked in Anchor Standard 4 is pertinent to gallery/museum education where it is clearly demonstrated that selecting artwork for public display has meaning and relevance in our culture.

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.

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 current culture to communicate ideas through visual platforms. Youth are naturally insightful and observant, approaching artworks in a very honest and curious manner.
The program coordinator designs both internal and external assessments and evaluations for tours and lessons. During the tour, docents make formative assessments of the students understanding using Visual Thinking Strategies, and carefully formatted questions related to the tour material. They do not respond to the Essential Question directly, but tour and art lesson design ignites related dialogue.

This year, along with the gallery’s Idaho Artist theme, we offered a special in-class project called “Idaho Gems” that was open to any interested teacher. The students were asked to draw and write responses about themselves and about Idaho, and then sew those pages between two brightly colored pieces of gem shaped Mylar. Approximately 380 students completed the project over the year and their gems were added to a collaborative wall installation in our Children’s Studio. Students were excited to bring their family and friends to show them that they had art on display at the Prichard Art Gallery.

Impact

We want to inspire a creative life that will endure in our program participants. 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 and advance in school 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.
Our impact is documented though the artwork made in the art lesson in relation to the goals and objectives in the lesson plan. Following each class visit, teachers are given a feedback form that they fill out and mail back to the Ed. Coordinator.

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 only artists that live in the state of Idaho. That theme alone was very empowering to the classes that visited. They were able to connect the state they live in to important artists who live and work there as well.

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.

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