Morning Art Teaches Tacoma Students About Making Choices
On a recent Tuesday morning, Sasha, a third-grader at Tacoma’s Fawcett Elementary, created a sumi ink painting while catching up with a few of her best friends before school started. Sasha is one of about 70 students at six local elementary schools who participate in Breakfast Sketch Club, an Expanded Learning Opportunity provided by Tacoma Art Museum (TAM). Sasha likes starting her day, “with art. It’s just fun because you get to come up with your own ideas and create something you like.”
“To start your day before you even walk into a classroom having had this incredibly affirming experience, that will change your whole day.”
Hyun Jin Kyoung, the TAM Teaching Artist who leads Breakfast Sketch Club at Fawcett Elementary, encouraged students to make their own decisions about the art they created, “Art is really about choices you make. Choosing what you wear, what you do and what you want to express. For me everyone is an artist, and I try to show the kids that they can learn from choices they make in art and bring it into their lives as well.”
While each session has a focused lesson, Hyun says students can also follow their own creative impulse using a wide-array of tools and mediums, “It doesn’t matter what they’re doing at first, we just want it to be a positive area where they can express themselves, and then if they want to learn more from there, we can support that.”
While Sasha worked on her painting, several of her classmates shared that the class helped them “feel more calm” and “get our brains more focused”. Christina Westpheling, TAM’s Interim Director of Education and Community Engagement, observed a unique benefit of offering art sessions before school, “kids get to start their day having a really positive experience where they feel like they are empowered, they feel like they are making meaningful decisions and they feel like they are succeeding. To start your day before you even walk into a classroom having had this incredibly affirming experience, that will change your whole day.”
Tacoma Art Museum is one of 24 organizations currently offering Expanded Learning Opportunities through the Tacoma Whole Child partnership. Students at 12 Elementary Schools in Tacoma now have access to Expanded Learning Opportunities like Breakfast Sketch Club through this community-wide effort to ensure every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Tacoma Public Schools, and numerous community partners are working together to expand this partnership by providing aligned, equitable, high quality social, emotional, and academic development opportunities to students in and out of school.
To learn more about increasing Expanded Learning Opportunities for Tacoma youth, contact GTCF for ways to support programming.