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Visual Arts Field Trips at ARTitorium

Idaho Falls Arts Council

This grant supported visual arts field trips for ARTitorium on Broadway. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, ARTitorium was closed to the public from March 16 through May 18, 2020, and closed for field trips from March 16 through the end of the school year. April and May are typically our busiest months for field trips, and 42 trips had been scheduled during the time that we had to be closed. Prior to the closure, we hosted 63 field trips for 2,792 elementary and pre-school students during the 2019-2020 school year, from schools across eastern Idaho. The goal of the project was to provide low cost access to tools and instruction in the arts to as many young people as possible. The project took place entirely at ARTitorium on Broadway in downtown Idaho Falls. We selected this project because art education for kids is a primary focus of our mission and something that requires the most external support in order to keep costs low for the students and the schools.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do life experiences influence the way you relate to art? What can we learn from our responses to art?

Our field trips are designed to provide instruction in a particular artistic style, technique, or subject matter. Education Specialist Julie Hill presents a lesson, during which students complete small art projects at different points that relate to the content being taught and demonstrate their understanding of the concept. We provide guidance and examples for the projects, but do not limit or discourage the students in their approach to the work. Open discussion is encouraged, and Julie prompts students to think about the processes that an artist used to create an artwork, the visual components that make up the artwork, and the fact that everyone might have a slightly different response to the work. As a result of participation in a field trip, students should be able to speculate about processes an artist uses to create a work of art (VA:Re.7.1.3a), compare their own interpretation of a work to that of their friends (VA:Re.7.1.5a), and analyze components in visual imagery that convey messages (VA:Re.7.2.4a).

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

Unfortunately, we did not collect as many comments from students or photographs of them working as we had hoped, since we usually do the bulk of our evaluation in April and May when we are the busiest.

Here are some examples of the comments we did receive:

  • “I wish I could come and look at art every day.” (Alturas 1-3 grade field trip)
  • “I always thought I couldn’t draw. I might have to rethink that.” (Madison 5th grade field trip)
  • “I do have to admit; the lesson was not boring. I thought it would be.” (Madison 5th grade field trip)
  • “We wanted you to know how we felt about this field trip so we thought of adjectives that would describe our adventure. We hope these help you understand how much we appreciate your generosity: Bright, playful, surprising, awesome, colorful, interesting, cool, super, practical, fun, great, exciting, fantastic, nice, the best, good, amazing.” (Pioneer Elementary 1st grade field trip thank you card)

Impact

From ARTitorium Education Specialist Julie Hill:

“I have shown a lot of pictures to a lot of kids over my years teaching art, but this year I had a moment that reinforced that the experiences we have effect how we interpret a work of art, and how important it is to have a wide variety of art experiences. I grew up not far from the ocean, and l have always had the beach as a reference when looking at art. For our 3rd grade field trip this year we looked at an ocean picture, Hokusai’s “The Great Wave of Kanagawa.” Many of the kids, in the middle of an Idaho winter, thought the boats were sledding on ice in the middle of a snow storm. It was just a reminder to me that we all bring our personal experiences and who we are to experiencing works of art.”

Reflection

From ARTitorium Education Specialist Julie Hill:

“One thing that I have learned over again this year as I have worked with the kids is about listening to them. We have had field trips that have given me extra time to listen to and read about what kids have to say. I sometimes forget how important it is in my creative life as a teacher of kids to listen and really understand their points of view and how they see the world. My job can never be just putting information into their minds, but must always be about leading them to discover new and interesting things about art and being creative.”

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