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Ready to Make Some Noise

IFAC sets stage for growth in youth programs

Published online: Jan 13, 2017 Articles, Events, Family Fun Guide, Photography
Viewed 2884 time(s)

By Amy Carr

As the new year begins, people make resolutions to improve themselves, to do better and to start again. This year ARTitorium has a resolution too.

After the first two years of art classes, field trips, playtimes and parties, it became clear that for a space intended to inspire creativity, ARTitorium was stuck feeling the same. Despite cries of “Best field trip ever!” and art class devotees, the staff wanted to feel inspired again, so they decided to shake off the set ideas of how the space had to work and began to reimagine the best ways to introduce kids to art.

While there are children’s museums across the country, ARTitorium is a truly unique concept. Many discovery centers focus on science or don’t have a theme; ARTitorium lives up to its name as a place where art comes to life. But now life is getting messier, in the best way possible.

The Arts Council has been running a free arts festival known as Youth Jam every summer for fifteen years now. When ARTitorium was first envisioned, it was intended to capture the spirit of Youth Jam in a year-round facility,” said Georgina Goodlander, Visual Arts Director of the Idaho Falls Arts Council. “But when I began to evaluate ARTitorium a few months ago, I realized that it did not have the mess or noise of Youth Jam; it didn’t feel as dynamic.”

A lot of parents of young kids are looking for anything but more mess and noise, but that is the beauty of Youth Jam and ARTitorium: the parents don’t have to be in charge of the mess or the noise. Kids can paint, take a sharpie to the new Tall Wall, build castles out of boxes, make up monsters and creatures, and fully embrace their imaginations without destroying a living room or backyard.

It is so important to introduce kids to art and creativity young,” said Julie Hill, Education Specialist at ARTitorium, who leads all of the art classes and field trips, as well as dreaming up the special installation projects. “If you wait too long to expose kids to art, they start to feel that the door is shut to them, that they aren’t good enough to start now. We want to prevent that and teach that everyone can be involved in art. From learning new concepts to creatively solving problems to expressing themselves, anyone can have a good experience making art.”

The importance of childhood art experiences is no exaggeration. A recent study by the National Endowment for the Arts found that people who had attended performing arts presentations or museums were three to four times more like to attend those types of events as an adult. According to that study, “Exposure to the arts in childhood turns out to be a stronger predictor of adult arts participation than education, gender, age or income.”

Another study published in Education Week found that consumption of the arts lead to children who were more tolerant and empathetic, as well as boosting their critical thinking. “Arts experiences boost critical thinking, teaching students to take the time to be more careful and thorough in how they observe the world."

ARTitorium’s resolution is to be new and entertaining no matter how often you return, but just like most people won’t keep going to the gym every day without a friend to encourage them, ARTitorium wants your input in their new direction. So stop by, see what has already changed and add your ideas to the Community Brainstorm.

Our hope for the revitalized ARTitorium is a place for kids 12 and under to experience art with their families in a fun, interactive way that allows for movement, noise, physical and digital creation and ever-evolving projects,” Goodlander said.

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