Get Smart With Art

What is Get Smart with Art (GSWA)?

Get Smart with Art is a volunteer-based, in-class art education program that provides students one, hour-long art period per month. The program starts in October and art projects are presented eight times a year. Volunteers lead students in a discussion of art, style and artist history; teach students to critique a print and lead the students in an age-appropriate art project.


We need a GSWA Chairperson for the 2018/19 school year!

Here is some general information about the responsibilities. If you have questions or interest, please email


Over the summer: Spent some time taking art supply inventory and planning the line-up of artists. Also make sure the samples were in place or create them.If supplies are needed, purchase them (reimbursed by the PTO).


We usually spent about ten hours right before school started. 


Duties would include :

Talking with principal and deciding when to have GSWA. Once that is determined, contact teachers once school has started with the scheduled times and correct any conflicts. 


Once schedule is established, meet with Shannon in the office and reserve all dates needed. 


- Contacting volunteers that had signed up from open house. Creating a first meeting to introduce yourself.  Depending upon the format: getting lead parents for each grade or having people sign up for prep if you have it in the cafeteria. Perhaps having to teach people how to present and showing them some future plans of art.

- Creating a sign up genius.  

- Coordinate with the janitors if needed on dates to use the cafeteria.

- Emailing teachers at end of each month to confirm dates for up coming months. Also, volunteers to remind them of upcoming dates.

- Prepping beforehand and then setting up for art on day about 25 minutes before the kids arrive.  

- Returning art to students once art is dry if need be. 

- Keeping track of budget and money spent.


Commitment is a few hours during the summer for prep and then usually 18 hours/month (depending on how many other volunteers there are). 


PTO usually requests auction pieces so you design and coordinate those.


5th grade might need help with legacy piece. 


Art show is optional, portfolios optional, however you want to take the program! 


Why does the PTO fund GSWA?

Art education is not state or district-funded in the Illinois public elementary school. However, our principal, schoolteachers, staff, and parents recognize art education as an integral element of a student’s elementary education. Several years ago Get Smart with Art was introduced to elementary schools in School District #90. With the construction of Moye Elementary School in November 2003 the Parent/Teacher Organization chose to adopt this program. As a result of strong school staff and PTO support, the program was first offered in February 2004 and has blossomed since.


According to the Illinois State Goals for Fine Arts, students who are introduced to basic artistic concepts during elementary years tend to have better ability to recognize and investigate problems; formulate and propose solutions supported by reason and evidence; express and interpret information and ideas; recognize and apply connections of important information and ideas within and among learning areas.


What do the students learn in GSWA?

The students are introduced to artists from the Renaissance to pop art. Following an introduction to the artist as provided by the GSWA volunteer, the students are encouraged to view and formulate opinions about a selected piece of reproduction artwork. The learning period ends with the opportunity to create artwork using different medium, including pencil, colored pencil, watercolor and tempera paint or collage.


The students really enjoy this time of the month. Most know what to expect (presentation, discussion and art project) so it is familiar and they are anxious to get started. Most elementary school age children believe they have artistic talent; studies have shown that at about grade seven social pressures cause students to lose this ideal. The volunteers have a great opportunity to build their self-confidence through this program.


Do I need to be artistic to volunteer?

You do not have to have a degree in art to participate; all research and materials are provided. We have files of information on artists and their work and step-by-step instructions and samples of art projects for your use.


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