The Northwest Art Project was founded in 1960 by Junior League of Seattle member Dee Dickinson, who recognized at the time that there were many children who had never seen an original work of art and had never visited an art museum. Acknowledging the educational void, Dee realized that this gap might be filled by creating a program that would give children opportunities to do creative work of their own through the guidance of trained docents. Beginning with a single piece of art donated in 1960 by local artist Kenneth Callahan, the Northwest Art Collection has now grown to 89 pieces demonstrating the varied and rich production of regional artists.
The Northwest Art Project brings arts learning directly to the classroom through traveling art exhibits, training for educators, and PTSA docents. Participants are equipped with inquiry-based lesson plans and activities to support multi-dimensional arts learning. Trained educators and docents then return to their schools to teach in the presence of the original artwork. Through informal and intimate discussion of thematically organized exhibits in the school setting, students learn critical thinking and communication skills. This unique and innovative program enables students and teachers to experience an art museum in their own school setting.
Traveling Art Exhibits
The NW Art Collection of 89 pieces is divided into 10 thematic exhibits with accompanying curricula that infuses art across a range of disciplines including language arts, social studies, science, and math. Each exhibit offers art education activity materials to support docent educators. Schools experience a full five weeks with the exhibit in their school. Touring exhibitions drawn from the Junior League of Seattle’s Northwest Art Collection are rotated each year. The artwork is placed in easy-to-move, wheeled, locking crates for transporting between the schools.
There is a limit on the number of schools that can participate in the Northwest Art Project, so registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
A registration fee covers administrative costs associated with the workshops and traveling program. The curriculum development, docent materials, and art crates are endowed by the Junior League of Seattle. At least two representatives (educators or volunteers) from each school must attend the training for your exhibit, which is put on and run by Junior League of Seattle. Learn more about the program here.