King County Public Art Collection tapped for use in elementary art curriculum
A guest post from Bruce Hall, Program Director for ArtsEd Washington
For many elementary students in schools across Western Washington, visual art concepts are coming to life in the classroom thanks to modern technology and support from major art institutions across the state.
ArtsEd Washington’s Art Lessons In the Classroom (ALIC) online portal – an addition to the curriculum launched last year and available to schools via subscription – is empowering teachers with instant access to additional and valuable arts resources to support the ALIC curriculum in the provision of student learning in the arts.
One of the key features of this exciting portal is the inclusion of more than 80 featured “masterworks”, including selections from the King County Public Art Collection, administered by 4Culture, a key supporter of ArtsEd Washington. Other organizations contributing to this unprecedented collaboration of art assemblage include the City of Redmond, Frye Art Museum, Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane, Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and the state public art collection managed by ArtsWA (Washington State Arts Commission).
The availability of these valuable visual resources now means that a third grade teacher seeking to use pose and gesture in observational figure drawing can, for example, access Aki Sugabi’s Fisherman’s Morning (part of King County’s Public Art Collection) that visually exemplifies that model. Fifth grade educators teaching their students to use sensory feelings and emotions in their poetry and artwork can use the portal to display Keiko Hara’s Verse from Sea #8, also from the King County collection, which demonstrates the use of color and line to express mood.
In addition to the masterworks, ALIC portal resources also include professional development refresher videos and step-by-step photos demonstrating the skills and techniques taught in the lessons, and an interactive Teachers Forum where educators can share ideas and ask questions.
Specifically designed for elementary schools, the comprehensive ALIC curriculum aligns with Washington’s standards for visual art and includes a series of teacher workshops to support implementation. The set of K-6 lessons (70 in total, with additional learning expansions) builds sequentially on arts skills and concepts from one grade level to the next, and approximately 40% of the lessons are aligned with literacy concepts. Having this type of high quality, standards-aligned curriculum, supported by teacher training, increases capacity in our schools to teach the core subject of the arts, helps to ensure consistency in arts instruction, and provides a ready-to-use and easy to access resource for teachers. Teachers utilizing the ALIC materials note that students taking part in the lessons demonstrate increased engagement and motivation, gain a sense of pride in their creativity, and build their confidence in other learning areas. They report that the curriculum helps teach students that not everyone has to do things the same way.
About Bruce Hall: As the Program Director for ArtsEd Washington, Bruce Hall’s passion for arts education is rooted in his background as both a teacher and theater artist. A former middle school teacher in Seattle Public Schools, he holds a Masters in Education from Antioch University. In theater, Bruce has worked as a stage manager, actor, and an administrator. He is a longtime member of Seattle’s Annex Theatre where he hosts a monthly late night cabaret.