When you think about how you will sustain your project (or its most essential components), what are your greatest strengths or assets?  How can you leverage those strengths or assets going forward?

Our greatest strengths are the commitments we have from our Middle School, our school district, the Coos Art Museum, our teaching artists, and the relationship with our middle school principal and teachers.  We can leverage those strengths/assets going forward by working on strengthening those relationships, developing a closer working relationship with the middle school teachers, and ensuring that we are providing an enduring curriculum that can be integrated into the core be the teachers themselves.

  • One of the things that I thought would be a huge challenge was a large turnover in staff this school year.  Instead, I see it as a huge success.  We have five new classroom teachers and a new principal, all of whom are very supportive of the art program.  I know that our new principal and the returning staff helped generate enthusiasm with the new classroom teachers.
  • Sunset School staff has voted to delegate $10,000 of Title I funding for the creation of an outdoor mural which will be designed and created by the students.  The mural will focus on the support of PBIS strategies and character traits.  This project could continue through sponsorship from local businesses in support of continued art instruction.
  •  Classroom teachers state that they feel much more confident in their own ability to teach the art lessons to their students if funding for the art program is no longer available.  They also see the art program as important for their students.

6th Grade Landscape Watercolor Lesson

When you think about how you will sustain your work (or its most essential components), what are your greatest challenges?  How might you work to overcome those challenges?

Our greatest challenges are raising funds to sustain the art programs as it exists now, and if we can’t, making sure we are prepared to provide an enduring curriculum that can be integrated into the core by the teachers themselves so that the students continue to have an art program that supports and enhances their education through the middle years.

  • The Coos Art Museum will be looking for and writing grant proposals to help support this program.  However, the Museum itself relies heavily on grants to support its operation.  Also, funding from grants is not guaranteed. Nor, is it sustainable, especially since  grants are a short term solution for a long term need.  However, we will pursue this revenue source for years 4 and 5 as we transition from the Studio to School grant.
  • We have plans for fundraisers.  These will not generate much income, but we hope these events will increase awareness and support for our program.
  • We plan to have more of a presence on the school website and Facebook page.
  • We will share what we have learned about the positive impact the art program has had on our students.  Our students and school staff are our greatest advocates.  Their enthusiasm is important as we plan for our presentation at an upcoming school board meeting.  We will highlight the importance of the program and advocate for future funding from the school district.
  • We will be looking very carefully at what are the essential components of this program and what that will cost.  We have already made some decisions. We are no longer supporting the Cigar Box Guitar Program, which will save us up to $8000 per year.  We have already purchased all the technology needed for the digital art program.  We feel that moving forward, we may not need $70,000 per year to run the program well.

Even though this is an uncertain time as we move towards next year, it is also exciting to see students that we have worked with over the last three years become more confident as artists.  It is exciting to be in a school where art is celebrated and encouraged.  We are certain that no matter what happens with this program, that art will always be important at Sunset School.

Written By Kathy Sizemore

With input from Kathleen Zappelli, Shelly McKnight, and Brian Hutchins