Gallery One Clay Days

Contact: Monica Miller, director@gallery-one.org, 509-925-2670
Gallery One Visual Arts Center, 408 N Pearl St, Ellensburg, WA 98926, www.gallery-one.org
Gallery One gets kids dirty. What’s more fun than making a mess at school? Learning at the same time! In 2019, Gallery One expands arts education options to all of Kittitas County fourth graders.  Now in its second year, Gallery One has been working with all fourth graders in the Ellensburg School District to partner with teachers to provide their state mandated visual arts education for Clay Days.

Gallery One has offered arts education to youth through their art after school programs and outreach, to events such as the Early Learning Coalition’s STEAM events. Realizing there will always be barriers to after school programs that don’t take place at the schools such as language, money, perception,and transportation not every child can have the access to the arts that they deserve.

Kids deserve access because the arts make kids smart. They can be a bridge to learning complicated or new subjects, but also to helping with the formative skills needed in the 21st century: communication, collaboration, creativity!  In addition, art can help with adverse childhood experiences.

“We have a unique resource in our building we just can’t cart to every school but we wanted to share, our ceramics studio. In 2018, with support from the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA), we piloted our Clay Days with Mt. Stuart, Lincoln and Valley View Elementary Schools. Bonilyn Parker, our ceramic artist in residence, created lesson plans with the 4th graders in each class to help cater to their learning objectives. Each school had to commit to time, material fees, parent volunteers and transportation, if they wished to participate. Each school said yes. As a result, children receive qualified arts learning and for some, a once in a lifetime experience.” – Monica Miller, Director, Gallery One Visual Arts Center

“Students would benefit from this hands-on art experience using their own creativity and simulating real artists.  They would improve problem-solving skills and engage in learning in a unique way. Some students have never worked with clay or visited an art gallery.” – Monica Quattrocchio, 4th Grade Teacher at Valley View Elementary.

“Our partnership with Gallery One at Lincoln Elementary, in furthering arts education in our community, has been one of immense value.  Not only are our students getting to learn about ceramics, work with a real-life artist, visit a current gallery exhibit, and create in an actual studio, but this unique experience allows them the opportunity to create, connect, respond and produce meaningful work that enriches the overall learning experience of the student as a whole.  Students leave this experience empowered and curious to know more. This year our Lincoln artists are creating a project in honor of Black History Month. Our student artists are hard at work studying Dave the Potter, an African-American potter, poet, and slave from our country’s history. Fourth grade students are each writing a poem, in the style of Dave the Potter, to inscribe inside a coil pot that they will create at Gallery One during our field trip.  Their poems are inspired by their home and family.” – Stephanie Teasley, Lincoln Elementary Arts Specialist

In 2019, with extended support from ArtsWA and additional funds from the Robert B. McMIllen Foundation, now eight schools in Kittitas County can benefit from the program as well. From Easton to Kittitas, schools can choose to participate in Clay Days. An art instructor will come to each class and provide a brief history of ceramics, a few techniques and methods, as well as the supplemental lesson plan from the teacher. To complete the project, schools can come to Gallery One to visit an exhibit, eat some lunch in our courtyard, if they choose, and finish their artwork in our studio.  Schools interested in participating in the fall of 2019 should contact director@gallery-one.org by May 31st.