Youth Arts Initiative Pilot Grant

Methow Arts has received a generous grant from Icicle Fund that will support a Youth Arts Initiative (YAI) for students in grades K-3 in the Methow Valley Elementary School as well as students in grades K-2 in North Omak 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 will:

  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 Standards (ie. OSPI’s published WA State Arts Education Learning Standards.)
  2. Through Methow Arts, it will 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 beyond 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,” says 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!”

In the Methow Valley pilot program, as stated through a Methow Valley School District (MVSD) Arts Advisory Committee Charter, the MVSD and Methow Arts will work 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. 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 North Omak program is in the process of being developed and will adapt its goals with that school’s curriculum and concepts.

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.

The Methow Valley Elementary and North Omak currently have no designated art teacher for their students who will be 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. Methow Arts professional teaching artists Bethany Wray and Annie Venable will administer the program, including curriculum development, lesson planning, collaborating with classroom teachers to integrate art into units of study, and teaching art.

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,