|Art docents help fill budget gap|
|Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff|
BOTHELL — "Are you teaching art in my class today?" is a frequent question that Artitudes Design art docents are asked by students in the halls during their monthly visits to local schools.
On Friday, May 21, Artitudes’ employees, Carrie Meredith and Lori Hudson, visited Woodin Elementary School in Bothell for their last art session of this school year.
In one of the regularly scheduled classrooms, the art lesson focused on the old-fashioned art form of quilling.
Quilling is not an easy art form and yet the sixth graders in Ms. Smith’s class were excited to try their hand at this new technique.
In response to the growing need for art in elementary schools, the creative community has stepped up to provide teachers and kids with much needed arts education. Because art programs have been consistently cut, the teachers and schools are looking to the community to fill that gap.
In 2007, support came in the form of a graphic design company, Artitudes Design Inc., creating an art docent program called "Artitudes in Action: Art Docent Campaign."
Andrea Heuston, Artitudes’ CEO, said, "We saw what was happening in the schools and felt the creative community should step up and provide that critical arts education piece."
Artitudes’ employees create sample art projects, write lesson plans, purchase supplies or use recycled materials, coordinate with elementary schools and then teach the lesson to the class.
The campaign reaches over 425 students a year at three schools on an ongoing basis and gives Artitudes’ employees the opportunity to volunteer and give back to the community with something they are passionate about – art.
"Lots of schools don’t really have art but the schools that do are lucky because it gives (students) the chance to use their imagination. You can talk and make new friends while doing art. I think we are very lucky to have art," said Adam, an elementary school student.
Artitudes is frequently contacted by teachers who have heard, by word of mouth, there is an organization out there that provides art education.
"I think the projects the Artitudes volunteers have brought to my students have been fantastic. They have been able to experience all types of art from old fashioned quilling to recycled art with CDs. The students love it," Theresa Smith, 6th grade teacher at Woodin Elementary said.
"The wonderful amount of skill has helped my students stretch their art abilities. I feel strongly that art is very important to a student’s development but my schedule is so packed that I don’t have time to bring the level of art that Artitudes has been able to bring to my students. It’s an added bonus that my students get to see professionals volunteer their time in schools."
Many of the schools Artitudes works with have art docent programs that rely on parent volunteers.
Artitudes fills in where parent volunteers have not been found to help support the arts program.
An art docent curriculum is usually provided in most districts, however Artitudes looks outside the curriculum to bring in new art techniques and projects. It helps the students expand their art abilities and they enjoy working with the various art mediums.
"I appreciate that Artitudes gives me the opportunity to volunteer in the community to help fill a growing need doing something that I am passionate about by helping these students get the art instruction I think they deserve," said Carrie Meredith, Artitudes Design employee.
"The students are wonderful and it is certainly a pleasure to be able to work with them and see them grow in their artistic capabilities. We definitely are fortunate to see that art is alive and well in these young people," noted Lori Hudson. "We need to make sure that we keep the inspiration alive."
Heuston shared: "When I was a child, art classes inspired me to become a graphic designer. Without art in schools, who will inspire our next generation of artists?" Artitudes Design is taking a step to continue art inspiration.