Allied Arts partnership brings art to fifth grade classrooms

Community in Action

Through one of the partnerships with Allied Arts of Whatcom County, teaching artists worked with fifth grade classrooms. Each class received up to 12 hours of arts education that focused on one theme. These included stone carving, watercolor painting, paper mache puppets and concrete pavers.

The partnership emerged after an anonymous donation was given to the Whatcom Community Foundation. The anonymous donor felt that art had played an important role in their life, especially during fifth grade, and wanted to provide this opportunity for Bellingham students.

Kelly Hart, executive director of Allied Arts, said this partnership is one of her favorite programs.

“Allied Arts has been providing curriculum guided arts education in the schools for 17 years,” said Hart. “We are so glad that Bellingham Public Schools understands the importance of incorporating the arts education into curriculum.”

Teaching artist Kathy Harvey enjoyed her time working with students. This school year, she taught at Alderwood, Geneva, Parkview and Sunnyland elementary schools focusing each lesson on The Bellingham Promise. For the outcome “scientists and mathematicians” students took their learning of the northern lights and different types of chalk to recreate an illuminated night sky. A core belief of The Promise is “all children should be loved.” Students turned this mantra into “all people should be loved” and wrote sayings or positive words on rocks and gave these to someone they cared about. Focusing on the outcome of “respectful and compassionate humans,” students created ornaments.

“One of my favorite memories was around the winter holidays when we studied about the gift of compassion and made mandala 3-D ornaments for Alzheimer centers,” said Harvey. “The children learned about Alzheimer’s disease and how many of these folks do not have any loved ones or visitors. These ornaments were received by residents and were very appreciated.”

Harvey said learning about and supporting the community was very inspiring to many students and they wanted to make extra ornaments to spread more joy.

“These classes have been so inspirational to me and hopefully the students have learned and appreciated them too,” Harvey said.

The partnership will continue next year due to the donation and additional funding.

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