How Do I Make My Visual Arts Program Successful?
The lifelong rewards of a quality visual arts education may be too great to measure. But the elements of a good program can and should be measured to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed. A good visual arts program requires a safe, comfortable environment, high-quality materials and instructors, clear goals, comprehensive curriculum, and ongoing program evaluation. Below, you’ll find a detailed list of the elements of a quality visual arts program.
A Quality Visual Arts Program Requires
- A spacious, well-lit work area. Visual art students at all levels need a work space large enough to accommodate projects in a variety of mediums. Ideally, an art room has large tables with level surfaces; room for students to move freely as they work; a sink with clean, running water; ample and secure storage for materials; a clear view of the instructor; and good lighting.
- High-quality art supplies for a variety of activities. The visual arts include drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, media arts, and other varied activities. Students should have firsthand exposure to as many art mediums as possible at the appropriate grade level. Painting and drawing supplies, clay and sculpture materials, printmaking supplies, and other project-specific materials must be available in sufficient quantity. Cleaning supplies, drying racks, a working kiln, and black and white boards are also essential. Ideally, the art instructor would also have continued access to a computer with an LCD projector, a printer, and a digital camera.
- A qualified art teacher or teaching artist. Qualified, well-trained, and full-time instructors are crucial to the success of a visual art program. Teachers must understand the central concepts and methods of inquiry of visual art and must create learning experiences that make the content meaningful to all students. Sequential arts instruction that incorporates project-based learning should always be the standard.
- Many programs rely on the combined efforts of a classroom teacher and one or more visiting artists. A quality visual arts partnership allows school administrators, classroom teachers, and visiting artists to meet and plan the program in advance. Classroom teachers and visiting artists then continue to collaborate outside the weekly teaching session.
- Dedicated, consistent class periods and preparation time. At the elementary and middle school levels, classroom teachers need at least one or two 45-minute sessions per week to allow students to start new