Art At Your Fingertips
Art At Your Fingertips is a Palos Verdes Art Center school-based outreach program. This program brings affordable visual arts education to elementary school classrooms from developmental kindergarten through sixth grade. AAYF’s paramount objective is to help every child feel comfortable using art as a means of expression.
Started in 1975 by parents dismayed by the loss of school art programs, AAYF sends over 300 volunteer docents into public and private classrooms to teach carefully selected projects combining art techniques, art history and aesthetics to more than 7,000 Palos Verdes Peninsula students each year. AAYF seeks to:
- Enhance each child’s creative and mental growth through meaningful art experiences in a non-judgmental environment.
- Improve each child’s visual perception and awareness.
- Make community resources in the arts more available to children.
- Support the Palos Verdes Art Center and Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District’s arts education plan by providing visual arts experiences aligned with California State Visual and Performing Arts Standards.
- Provide training to its docents so these volunteers have the tools and knowledge to deliver a quality, grade-appropriate art experience.
With the cooperation of the Art Center and the school district, an AAYF committee annually selects five art projects designed by local artists or art educators. Each must be adaptable for all grade levels, inexpensive (under $1 per student with volume buying of materials), consistent with multi-year program objectives, able to be taught by trained volunteers and have an elusive “WOW” factor. Click here to see this year’s projects.
At training workshops, the artist who developed each project teaches the 400+ volunteers who, in turn, teach the students in their individual classrooms. Training includes the methodology, motivation and inspiration, as well as letting the volunteers try their hands at creating the project. Click here for this year’s workshop schedule and other important program dates.
Each spring, more than 1,000 pieces of student art from all participating schools and grade levels fill the Art Center exhibition galleries in a month-long exhibition.
Through the years similar independent programs have begun in adjacent school districts. These “sister” programs, including Young at Art, Art To Grow On, Gateway to Art and Adventures in Art, boost the total number of children served each year in AAYF-like programs to approximately 41,000.
Parents seeking to establish a similar program in any school district can learn how through a guidebook published several years ago. The manual explains the AAYF system and gives practical tips on program implementation. The book, with a companion DVD, costs only $45, plus $5 shipping and handling. To order, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 310-541-2479, ext. 305