Our recent evaluation visits took us to nearly every corner of the state. From Portland to Joseph, from Ashland to Burns, and parts in between, we saw the beauty that Oregon has to offer.
But of course we were not traveling the state to see its beauty — we were doing it in order to see Studio to School projects in action. As part of our evaluation of the Studio to School initiative, our first set of visits allowed us to really understand what the grantees are doing. It also enabled us to pull together some initial findings.
What follows are some of these findings, highlighted with some photos. It is just a snapshot, but we hope this gives you a sense of some of the inspiring work we observed — and what you can look forward to seeing as you visit each other.
Increased technical arts skills
The after-school guitar club at La Pine Middle School. While at La Pine, we saw students who had only picked up their guitars for the first time several weeks earlier beginning to master entire songs.
A student at Agnes Stewart Middle School in Springfield receives individual instruction from an instructor coordinated through the Shedd. Students like this one are able to progress much more quickly than they would without the individual attention. Some have even successfully tried out for the Eugene Springfield Youth Orchestra.
Students visit the Coos Bay Art Museum. For students, many of whom had never visited an art museum, this trip and trips like it expose them to new areas they only scarcely knew existed.
Andrew Arriaga directs the middle-school band in Elkton. By participating in a band like this one, students are exposed to what it means to be a musician, something few had previously experienced.
Increased student excitement about arts
A student at Oaklea Middle School shows off his work. The look on the face of this student, and on the faces of students we observed throughout the state, cannot help but show the excitement they feel at being involved in arts education projects.
Students at Oceanlake Elementary School perform a heartfelt song.
Students at in Hillsboro read an arts-focused book with their teacher. Having more arts in the classroom increases student engagement in school in general, providing benefits for all teachers.
Having the right people at the table is critical
A visioning meeting in Sisters brings together teachers, school administrators, and non-profit staff. Rather than imposing a vision on others, meetings like this one that bring together all stakeholders, help to get buy-in from everyone involved.
Collaboration and cooperation between teachers and artists is essential – and challenging.
Teachers at Gilbert Heights Elementary School work with a teaching artist from the Oregon Symphony. This group met on a planning day, one solution to the problem of finding time to bring classroom teachers and teaching artists together.
High quality materials are important.
Student artwork from Oaklea Middle School in Junction City. With high-quality materials, students get excited about the possibilities of what they can create — and create incredible work like this!
A student painting sold at the Ashland Middle School Arts Festival fundraiser. While high-quality materials cost more, the payoff of using them can be significant.
Student work at Peninsula Middle School in Portland.
Cellos wait to be played at Ashland Middle School. Many grantees used money in the first year to purchase and/or refurbish equipment, an investment that should yield benefit for years to come.
A student uses an iPad at Joseph Charter School to make stop motion video. The draw of technology is one thing that many grantees have found brings students in.
Extensive communication and coordination is needed to keep teams moving forward together.
Hood River Middle School, shortly after a performance of a play (the mask was used in the performance). The amount of coordination required to put on a play, complete with sets, props and costumes made by students working with local artists, was significant, but the result was impressive.
Portland Children’s Museum teacher Matt Karlson works with Woodlawn School teachers in Portland. The work to bring these two groups together has been significant, but has resulted in engaging after-school workshops like this.