The Stevie Awards Blog

How Stevie Awards Winner Keeps Art Alive in School Communities

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Nov 09, 2011 @ 08:25 AM

Artitudes Design Inc., of Issaquah, Washington, USA received a Stevie Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year in The 2011 American Business Awards. The same program also won in the 2010 Stevie Awards for Women in Business. (Entries are now being accepted for the 2012 ABAs - get your entry kit.)

As the CEO and Creative Principal of Artitudes Design Inc., Andrea HeustonAngela Heuston
strongly believes in creating and cultivating a culture of giving back to the community. Because art programs have been consistently cut from the curriculum, teachers and schools look to the community to fill this growing gap. Heuston has responded by providing arts education to local elementary schools through the company’s Artitudes in Action: Art Docent Campaign.  We asked Heuston about her crusading efforts to keep art in the classroom.

Why is art such an important subject for young children?
Every child learns differently. Art has been proven to help develop problem solving and critical thinking skills as well as cognitive and creative skills. Our main goal is to educate children in a variety of mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture, and movement so we can reach those with different strengths and abilities. We need to give children as many tools as possible to make them as successful as possible. With school budget deficits, art is one of the first subjects to be cut.  We all need to step up and help wherever public school systems need the support.

How can non-design companies help support projects such as the Artitudes Art Docent Campaign?
There are several ways that people can help support our cause in their own communities. Volunteering at local schools as an art docent is a great way to give back. Most schools have art docent programs, but not many have enough parent volunteers and supplies to sustain the programs. If you are unable to volunteer, consider helping spread the word, or donate supplies to schools in your area.

What are Artitudes Design’s plans for the future of the Art Docent Campaign?
Our plan is to remain small, but to reach more students each school year. We would like to raise awareness in our community, and to people everywhere.  We would love to see more volunteers donating their time so the task isn't left only to small programs like ours. Awareness is one of our main goals. We hope that if more people are made aware of the need for art education it will encourage more people to get involved in their local schools.

About the Art Docent Campaign
Since 2007, graphic design firm Artitudes has partnered with Seattle-area schools, working with them to select classes with the greatest need for art instruction. The company’s employees then volunteer their time as art docents, allowing them to give something back to the community about which they are passionate: Art.

These aren’t your typical art docents, however. Team members create sample art projects, write lesson plans, purchase supplies or use recycled materials, coordinate with an elementary school, and then teach the lesson to the class. If classes are focusing on a specific topic, such as the Lewis & Clark expedition, the docents will tailor their lesson plans to that subject. Recently, a fifth grade class was learning about impressionism, so the docents created a project based on Monet’s landscapes. The lesson included tearing magazines into pieces and creating an impressionistic landscape on paper.

Artitudes focuses on using recycled materials in its instruction. This helps
keep out-of-pocket costs low, is environmentally conscious, and allows students
to recreate the projects in their own time for very little cost. Every child
has a unique learning style and creative strength, therefore the company works
with different tools and mediums, including painting, drawing, and
sculpture.

A Growing Challenge
The biggest challenge that Artitudes foresees is keeping up with the growing
demand for arts education in schools. Washington State has a budget shortfall of over $2 billion, and school funding is already being impacted. Artitudes believes it is now even more critical to grow the art docent program to reach more students; but that this can only be achieved through continued media outreach, donations of time and money, and the creation of a non-profit organization dedicated to championing basic arts education.

Art instruction is an essential tool in the development of a child.  It is a
critical building block in developing cognitive and creative skills.  The Artitudes Art Docent Campaign is just one program that will keep art inspiration alive so that the children of today become the artists and graphic designers of tomorrow. 

About Andrea Heuston
Andrea Heuston, CEO & Creative Principal of Artitudes Design, has over 20 years of experience in the graphic design industry. She established Artitudes in 1995. Heuston strongly believes in giving back to the community and focuses on advocating for the prevention of child abuse and on promoting arts education. She serves as a Board of Director with the non-profit organization Olive Crest, is a member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and serves on the Executive Committee of NW Next Leaders Council.

About Artitudes Design
Artitudes Design Inc. is a full service graphic design firm that specializes in executive communications within the high tech, retail, and non-profit verticals through customized presentations, marketing, motion graphics, and branding solutions. Founded in 1995, Artitudes currently employs 15 people. For more information go to www.artitudesdesign.com.

How is your organization engaging with your local community?

Tags: American business awards, women in business awards, csr awards, Women in Business, Awards for Women, corporate social responsibility

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