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Foundations, IMA help restore art classes in Friday Harbor schools

Friday Harbor Middle School students will have second semester art classes thanks to the efforts of the San Juan Island School District, Island Museum of Art, San Juan Island Community Foundation, and the Norcliffe Foundation. Top photo, second semester art students Branden Scribner, grade 8; Skyler Moeder, grade 8; Caroline Close, grade 8; and Emily Pruitt, grade 7. Bottom photo, Friday Harbor High School Advanced Placement art students are pleased to hear that middle school students will be able to follow in their footsteps. From left, Sierra Dawson, grade ll; Sam Asher, grade 11; Jenny Gustafson, grade 12.  - Contributed photos
Friday Harbor Middle School students will have second semester art classes thanks to the efforts of the San Juan Island School District, Island Museum of Art, San Juan Island Community Foundation, and the Norcliffe Foundation. Top photo, second semester art students Branden Scribner, grade 8; Skyler Moeder, grade 8; Caroline Close, grade 8; and Emily Pruitt, grade 7. Bottom photo, Friday Harbor High School Advanced Placement art students are pleased to hear that middle school students will be able to follow in their footsteps. From left, Sierra Dawson, grade ll; Sam Asher, grade 11; Jenny Gustafson, grade 12.
— image credit: Contributed photos

The San Juan Island School District will restore two periods of exploratory art instruction for grades 6-8 at Friday Harbor Middle School during second semester.

Re-establishing these classes is the first step in a collaborative partnership between the Islands Museum of Art and the district to raise funds and create a community-based art program at Friday Harbor Elementary and Friday Harbor Middle schools.

IMA was recently awarded a $5,000 grant from the Norcliffe Foundation in Seattle to support the art education project. This grant, combined with $1,000 grant from the San Juan Community Foundation and funds from The Moss Foundation and private donors, helped to launch the project.

The school district has agreed to fund one of the two classes being added and to provide stop-gap funding for the second while the remaining funds are raised by IMA through grants and private donations.

The added classes will be taught by Friday Harbor High School art teacher Andy Anderson and a yet-to-be-named middle school art teacher. In addition, IMA is working on funding an arts docent program and artist residencies at Friday Harbor Elementary School.

“This is great news,” IMA President Charlie Bodenstab said in a press release. “Study in the arts promotes creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills that benefit all areas of core learning and all career paths.”

Bodenstab points to research by The College Board, which administers the SAT and Advanced Placement programs, showing that high school students who receive even one year of study in art increase their SAT scores by an average of 25 points. Scores increase up to 44 points for those who have four years of studio art.

“Continuity of knowledge is key, however," Bodenstab said. "Just as you would not expect a high school student to solve complex equations without having learned basic math, likewise, the essential skills fostered by arts education must be built upon a foundation of knowledge and experience that begins in childhood.”

The overall goal of the partnership is to ensure that every school-age child, regardless of economic means and developmental ability, benefits from art instruction as an integral part of their basic education.

For more information about the K-12 Art Education Project or to provide support, contact Marilyn Luckman or Peg Gerlock at IMA, 370-5050; or the school district, 378-5215.

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