ACHF Arts Education
The quantity and types of arts learning opportunities in the state, and the organizations or venues that offer them increases. Arts learning opportunities are more accessible to Minnesota because barriers to participation have been identified and mitigated. More Minnesotans are engaged in arts learning opportunities.
We provided three 30-hour mural-making workshops to youth in three communities in northern Minnesota. We achieved this goal by successfully carrying out the project, as the workshops were a unique opportunity that youth would not otherwise have encountered. The opportunity to work closely with a professional artist and dedicate a significant amount of time to a project of this scale was something that the participants had never experienced before. We conducted initial and final surveys to learn more about each learner's art experience and interests. The response to our final survey about the mural project was overwhelmingly positive -- many expressed surprise at how much they were able to learn and accomplish. Indeed, the community continues to comment on the quality and skill displayed in the murals and is impressed to learn that they were designed and completed by youth. We connected with potential partner organizations to offer our arts learning project through a collaborative organization called Itasca Networks for Youth. This helped us most effectively reach the staff of organizations that we would need to work with to carry out the project. The one challenge we encountered was the turnover in a staff position at one organization that resulted in our previous groundwork being lost and the need to start from scratch with a new staff member to carry out the project. Overall, however, the networking that the collaborative group facilitated was highly valuable and we continue to find benefits to membership in this group. Future efforts to provide arts learning opportunities to youth in the Itasca County area will be enhanced by the partnerships formed by Itasca Networks for Youth. 2: We provided a high quality arts learning project to youth in three communities in northern Minnesota that would not otherwise have the opportunity to engage in a project of this scope and scale. In our initial surveys of the participating youth, we asked about previous experience with the arts including classes in a school setting and any out-of-school classes. Most youth had taken at least one art class in either 7th or 8th grade, but that was most often the extent of their arts learning experience. Few youth had participated in any arts learning outside the classroom setting although all youth taking part in the workshops expressed a desire to learn more about art and expressed satisfaction in the learning they were able to accomplish through the mural project. There are many barriers to rural youth participating in arts activities. Cost is a barrier to many, and transportation is a significant issue for most youth in our geographically large county. In planning the project with our organizational partners, we identified these as the two major barriers to participation and determined that holding the workshops at no cost and in local facilities in each community was the best way to mitigate these barriers. One workshop was held at MacRostie Art Center, which is located in downtown Grand Rapids. To provide the other workshops we worked with the Bovey Coleraine Youth Center for youth in the eastern part of our region and the Leech Lake Boys and Girls Club of Deer River for youth in the western part of our region. Both of these organizations already offered summer programming to youth so we had a built in audience for recruitment, and youth felt familiar with both the facilities and the staff people present.
Other, local or private