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K-12 Art Education Program

Overview: This docent program expands access to the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, (SJIMA) world-class exhibitions for students in grades K-12. The teaching materials are age-appropriate and are accompanied by museum tours led by SJIMA docents. SJIMA aims to provide art engagements that bring meaning and joy into our children’s experience. Opening the world of art to children is one of the greatest achievements a museum can accomplish. Our mission is to provide an art education program that is enjoyable and thought provoking for younger children. This program will empower them to think for themselves, helping them to find their voice to describe a world they may not know

much about. This educational program is being offered to all children in San Juan County.

What is the K-12 Program: SJIMA's aspiration is to include all children within the county. The county is made up of islands and with that realization brings challenges for transportation. The cost of transportation and the dearth of school funding for any supplemental/enrichment program for the student’s experience needs to be addressed. As we worked on this program the cost issue of transportation came into clearer focus. Schools cannot afford the bus transportation to SJIMA on their own. Assisting all schools in the county with funding in order to participate in this program would provide a great learning tool for teachers and parents alike. This education program will help SJIMA become the hub of K-12 arts education in the islands. Our museum's vision for this program will bring all our educational goals to fruition.


Why have this special program? To encourage children to participate and imagine without fear of being wrong gives them permission to think independently. Our program invites children to the world of visual thinking. Art as concrete objects provide the foundation for students to be able to understand abstract ideas. Museums provide memorable, immersive learning experiences, provoke imagination, introduce new worlds and subject matter, and offer unique environments for learning.


How will the materials be developed and by whom? Currently our docent education instructor is Marney Reynolds, who brings to SJIMA many years of experience leading docent tours for all ages. Ms. Reynolds holds a MFA in art and has taught college level art courses. She is also on the museum’s Board of Directors. Marney, along with the museum’s docent team, will conduct the tours, inviting the teachers to participate as well. The docents will work directly with the teachers to suggest appropriate lesson plans coinciding with the current exhibitions. In addition we offer, to students, an educational booklet ”Learning to Look” that coincides with each museum exhibit.

When: Donated Funds earmarked for the K-12 Education Program will be spent during the 2023-24 school year and will provide school bus transportation and adult admission fees for schools within San Juan County that have signed up for this outreach program. To date all county schools have been notified of this offer through 3 consecutive emails beginning May 2023 with the last letter sent October 2023. To date the docent group has toured over 200 children through the winter of 2024.

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