Walton Art Center offers a program to connect Northwest Arkansas schools with art resources

Walton Art Center offers a program to connect Northwest Arkansas schools with art resources


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More information about Artlook is available at artlookmap.com.

Source: Artlook

FARMINGTON – The new Walton Art Center program will connect school districts with local arts organizations and the resources they provide.

Sallie Zazal, director of training and collaboration at Walton Center for the Arts, presented a report on the Artlook data platform to the Northwest Arkansas Cooperative Education Board of Directors during its May Thursday meeting. The board consists of district administrators of Northwest Arkansas school districts.

Artlook is a software tool for drawing information of public schools, as well as programs that schools provide or would like to provide as well as contact information for art relations in each district, according to Zazal. It also organizes information about arts organizations and programs and services they provide. It is already in use in seven regions across the country, he said.

Walton Art Center last month partnered with Parliament, a Chicago company, to launch Artlook in Benton, Washington and Madison counties, Zazal said.

The project came about because several local arts organizations have good programs they want to get into schools but are not sure who to contact, so they continue to cater to schools they have already worked with, Zazal said. Artlook makes it easier for large and small arts organizations to find schools that can use their programs and connect, he said.

“The goal with Artlook is to provide a high quality art experience for every child, in every classroom in every school,” he said.

Teachers and administrators can also use the platform to find partner organizations for everything from outdoor trips to student workshops and professional development of teachers, Zazal said.

The platform can help compare students and staff opportunities in the arts. For example, Walton Art Center is always looking for stage hands, he said.

Chicago Public Schools, the third largest school system in the country, used Artlook to increase the number of schools rated to be the strongest or best in the arts by 128% in six years, Zazal said. The school system also saw a 27 percent increase in the number of schools with adequate art teachers, a 50 percent increase in two-hour arts-based primary schools, and a 33 percent increase in the use of education. art and a 97% increase in the number of schools involved in the creative school program.

Chicago schools were able to increase funding because Artlook makes it easier for arts organizations to showcase the work they have already done in school when applying for grants, Zazal said.

Walton Art Center has been a major ally of the Northwest Arkansas Education Service Partnership, and Artlook is an opportunity to expand that partnership to reach more students, said Bryan Law, director of the cooperative.

“Not everyone in this room has the opportunity or the resources to do everything we want to do with every student, but with the connection here, there are other resources in Northwest Arkansas that want to reach out to us to help us,” the law said. .

Many large districts have many arts opportunities for students while smaller districts are struggling, Zazal said. The plan aims to balance the field. The report brings about a systemic change by allowing decision-makers to see where the inequality lies, he said.

The Walton Art Center will work with Parliament in June and July to update the platform for data from the Arkansas Department of Education and local districts, Zazal said. It will be updated year after year so that changes can be seen in time, he said.

“We are really trying to make access to art education fair,” Zazal said.