On April 22 Northshore School District launched a refresh of its longstanding art docent program, aimed at finding new ways to engage, train and retain art docent volunteers, as well as refresh and realign the program to reflect the diversity of Northshore’s students and community.
“The diversity of our students is one of our District’s greatest assets,” said Director of Equity & Diversity Chris Bigelow, Ed.D. “It is imperative for students to see themselves in the frameworks and this refresh gets at the heart of this necessity. Equally important is that all students see works by artists representing diversity of all kinds.”
With the refresh the District intentionally increased the number of artists who are women, people of color and living. Additionally, the District sought to add local artists and is excited that Dale Chihuly, Blanca Santander and Vikram Madan are now part of the collection. A new partnership was also established with the Seattle Art Museum, giving access to digital prints.
These additions will allow an array of different artists to be highlighted monthly by art docents at the District’s elementary schools. During the lessons, art docents lead a discussion about the artwork and artist being featured, as well as lead an art activity inspired by the artists and their work. This provides students the opportunity to explore the process of art, bring awareness of art elements and gain an appreciation of the history of art. Over the years the program has served thousands of elementary students with the support of hundreds of volunteers.
This update ties directly to the District’s strategic plan including four of the five goals outlined: success in the early years; responsible, resilient, empathetic learners; growth for every student, elimination of outcome and opportunity gaps; and innovative, creative, critical thinkers.
“I’m excited for the endless possibilities this updated program provides our students, said Bigelow. “This is significant work that exemplifies the District’s continued commitment to the arts and to the breadth and depth of our equity and diversity work.”
The Northshore Schools Foundation, PTA/PTSA at the schools sites and numerous volunteers have generously supported this invaluable program for our students.