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Youth in Arts’ New ARTS Bank Unveiled at VSA Conference

Miko Lee and Suzanne Joyal

Which visual arts lessons will help you communicate with a student who is on the autism spectrum? How can dance include someone using a wheelchair? How do you teach collaboration in your 5th grade classroom?

Youth in Arts’ new ARTS Bank (Art Resources for Teachers and Students) offers answers. The ARTS Bank is a first of its kind free database to find and contribute arts activities to reach all types of learners.  

Visual Arts Director Suzanne Joyal and former Executive Director Miko Lee presented a beta version of the online resource recently at VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference in Irvine, CA. VSA is an international organization on arts, education and disability that was founded in 1974 by former U.S. Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

“The ARTS bank is an exciting tool,” Joyal said. “With a click of a button, teachers, parents or caregivers can plug in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) goal or grade level or a key word and find an arts lesson designed to strengthen those specific skills.”

Lee said the goal is to provide a tool so people can build on each other’s work.

“We have intentionally made it a free resource to encourage people to use it, contribute and collaborate,” Lee said. “You get the best solutions for the communities you are working with from those communities themselves. Those are the practitioners that best understand what works.”

The ARTS Bank is part of Youth in Arts’ Digital Toolkit, which includes six videos on inclusive teaching practices for artists, classroom teachers and parents. The ARTS Bank was developed pro bono through Salesforce under the leadership of Derek Schauffler. Funding for the video portion was provided through the state Department of Education’s Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant that the Marin County Office of Education received.

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