Youth Arts Initiative in the Methow Valley School District


In 2019, Methow Arts received a grant from Icicle Fund to support a Youth Arts Initiative (YAI) for students in grades K-3 in the Methow Valley Elementary School. The Initiative is a three-year pilot grant that has a goal of increasing the dosage of professional arts education specifically in sequential art learning and basics and elements of art for early grade levels, establishing a foundation in the arts for later years.

Funding is used to:

  1. Support arts education during the school day through contracted professional teaching artists in designated grades. The proposed programs work in alignment with the WA State Arts Learning Standards.
  2. Provide sequential learning, curriculum development, and art integration strategies into each district.
  3. Provide funding for Methow Arts to establish formal Art Plans within each school district, and explore additional funding to sustain programs at the same level after the three year period.

“We’re grateful to for the opportunity provided by the Icicle Fund to work in partnership with Methow Arts to integrate the arts in grades K through 3,” said Tom Venable, Methow Valley School District Superintendent. “The three-year grant will allow us to strategically invest in the development of learners who understand the critical concepts of art and the design cycle principles. Our students and staff are so fortunate!”

Methow Arts’ art instructor Bethany Wray works with classroom teachers in grades K-3 to develop learners who understand the critical concepts commonly associated with the International Baccalaureate “Design Cycle” through the integration of the arts in grades K-3. In their weekly sessions, students learn about other artists in history and create art using the principles and elements of art they observe in these artists’ work, such as learning about color through artist Alma Thomas, exploring texture through artist Romare Bearden, and creating patterns through artist Kehinde Wiley.

The grant acts as a pilot program to be monitored, tested, and adapted, and aims to assist other organizations across NCW in establishing successful partnerships with school districts and arts education program development and implementation after completion of the project. At the end of the three-year pilot program, Methow Arts will work with Superintendent Tom Venable and his staff to implement a coherent K-3 Arts Integration program and sustain the program after a three year period.

The Methow Valley Elementary currently has no designated art teacher for the students who are reached through this grant. These students have limited access to arts education instruction that is not provided at a level equivalent to urban schools nor WA State recommendations via WA State Arts Education Learning Standards.

The YAI program works in conjunction with the current Methow Arts’ Artist in Residence (AIR) Program, which works with a roster of professional teaching artists who instruct students across Okanogan County in grades K-6, with a focus on K-6.

This proposal utilizes Okanogan County data from the 2017 Youth Arts Opportunities Study, which identified gaps and opportunities, as well as barriers and supporter of youth arts education in Okanogan County. Additional data emphasizing need for this grant is derived from Methow Arts Alliance’s evaluation, which collects quantitative and qualitative data annually from school districts across Okanogan County.

For more information contact Amanda Jackson Mott,,