Roxana Craciun from Redwood Shores Elementary is a passionate parent docent in the Art in Action program and has seen first-hand the impact setting aside dedicated time for art has on students.
“I have taught Kindergarten through second grade and can see how the kids have grown artistically. Some of the kids have had behavior issues and I have seen that art changes their behavior. They can express themselves through art. As soon as they have a brush in their hands, their world changes.”
For Roxana the biggest reward for being an Art in Action docent comes when the students say “Hooray! It’s time for art.”
Michele Haferkorn, a second grade teacher at North Elementary School in Iron Mountain, MI, hesitantly took over teaching Art in Action after the school’s beloved art teacher took another job. Michele told us, “To be honest, I wanted to quit my job. I had been teaching for over twenty years and just never planned this route. I was never afraid of the content but I just didn’t want to disappoint the students who really loved art when it was not my passion.”
But Michele persevered and got creative. Using her students’ artwork based on the Art in Action lesson on Lascaux cave paintings, she transformed a school alcove into a cave, displaying the students’ artwork on the walls and ceiling. “It was such a great experience,” Michele reported. “We have had so much attention at school because of it. It really fired up all the grades. I think I can actually say I LIKE teaching art!”
Where do art, math and gardening science collide? Our new lesson, Spirals in Nature is a fascinating unit that combines gardening, science, math and art while unlocking the wonder of the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio. This is a truly special lesson that taps into a child’s curiosity, intellect and creativity.
One second grader shared her enthusiasm for the lesson. “First we went down to the garden and looked at spirals in the plants. Next, we went into a room and talked about spirals in pinecones, pineapples, flowers and plants! Then we got to draw a picture of the spirals and turn it into something like a wave. It was super fun. I love the Fibonacci sequence!”
We are grateful for the support of our donors, volunteers and school communities that helped us reach a record number of students this past year while investing in the quality and experience of the program through new initiatives.
Art in Action ended the 2014–2015 fiscal year with a modest surplus on a budget of $1,087,000. Earned income from Programs grew 18% over the prior year. Revenue from our special event, OBJECT:ART, increased 25% year-over-year.
During the past year, Art in Action partnered with The John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University on a significant study of the impact Art in Action has on all stakeholders in a school. The Gardner Center study is our first university research partnership to better understand the transformative power of Art in Action.
Lessons based on the sculpture of Ruth Asawa, the street art of Os Gemeos, the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and the STEAM-infused Spirals in Nature were developed over the year and will be available to our schools in the 2015-2016 school year. The Spirals curricula was presented to educators at four conferences in California. In addition, more than a thousand users have signed up for our free online course on integrated art curriculum development like Spirals through Udemy, which was funded by a generous grant from the company. Finally, an article on our STEAM curriculum development was also featured in the Education Closet’s digital STEAMed magazine.
A new interactive website was developed over the past year as the main portal for school/teacher/docent access to all of the lessons and resources. With streamlined navigation, printable teaching notes, high resolution images, a robust community forum and many other features, the site makes teaching Art in Action easier and more fun than ever before.
Through the generous support from the Adobe Foundation, Leo M. Shortino Family Foundation, The Wente Family Foundation for Arts Education, Wells Fargo Foundation, Palo Alto Community Fund and Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund nearly 1,400 students in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area are now experiencing art education at no cost to their schools.
Fifth grade teacher Kelsey Rothrock at Horace Cureton Elementary School in San Jose, CA used her grant support to make the history of the Underground Railroad come alive for her students. Using the Faith Ringgold lesson as the central project, students studied period music, read stories of the Underground Railroad and discussed how the art of quiltmaking could be used to send secret codes to help southern slaves escape to the north. The class excitedly worked together, sharing their ideas and their messages as they stepped back in time.
Nearly four hundred guests gathered for our annual fundraising event, OBJECT:ART 2015. Our first annual Art Visionary Award was presented to Dennis Hwang honoring his creative work as the Founder of the Google Doodle Program. The Art Visionary Award pays tribute to an individual or organization whose work has inspired a culture of art in our society. Generous supporters like you helped us raise over $150,000 to further the mission of Art in Action.
Thanks to our passionate volunteers, Art in Action reached more students in more schools than ever last year. Volunteers donated almost 3,500 hours doing mission-oriented work such as: