More about what we do:
The ABIL Student
In 1992 when the Niagara Falls Art Gallery began its Arts Based Integrated Learning (ABIL) program a number of objectives were identified:
1) A Community School Partnership
The first objective was to provide Niagara with a community resource that provides teachers with a program where art becomes a learning tool rather than an activity that fills unstructured time. With over 128 integrated workshops, that have been designed with input from the Region's Teachers, the Gallery's Educators facilitate classroom instruction and provide a Teacher's Resource Guide full of curriculum connections, extensions, vocabulary, and rubrics.
2) Self Confidence and Creativity
The second objective was to provide students with the self-confidence to take part in art activities through the systematic learning of art concepts, tools, and techniques that will lead to students successfully exploring their creative self. The Gallery approaches this goal in a manner that can be likened to seeking proficiency in a language. First, the students learn the alphabet and grammar of art; once they have learned these basics, they will be able to apply these concepts and techniques using the tools of different media. Overtime, just as in language arts, a student will understand both the message and how to communicate through the language of art.
3) Connecting the Curriculum and Family
The third objective is to include parents and family members in the ABIL workshops through community exhibitions and home activities. The Gallery's education project, the Niagara Children's Museum uses hands-on exhibitions and art based modules as a family activity to support what students have learned or will learn in school. Each exhibit is curriculum based and cover such diverse areas as ancient civilizations, animation, science, math, structures and mechanisms, and the performing arts. Family members can participate in the same areas of the curriculum the student has experienced in school and have hours of fun while learning. In the home, through the Gallery's HomeLink program, the student and family members can access games and information that support the curriculum centered workshops and exhibitions on the Museum's website at www.niagarachildrensmuseum.ca . Coming soon to the site will be art exhibitions the children create while the Niagara Falls Art Gallery's website at www.niagarafallsartgallery.ca will offer professional exhibitions that can be viewed in the home, the school, or through community agencies that offer internet services.
4) Learning After School
The fourth objective is to provide students with the opportunity to continue learning outside the classroom through the Gallery's after-school classes and holiday camps. Themed curriculum related classes and camps provide students from 3 1/2 to 14 years of age with extended learning in such workshop areas as: The Seasons, Medieval Times, Egypt, Cartooning and Animation, Occupations, Growth, Canada, as well as traditional art classes. Student's continuing interest in material that they have learned in the classroom and the confidence they have developed through the art based workshops has made the after-school classes a success. Waiting lists are common and, to ensure participation, parents book their children into the Gallery's curriculum based courses months in advance.
5) Community Supported Workshops
The fifth objective is to provide affordable education services. Through fundraising in the community, the Gallery is able to subsidize each student participating in the ABIL Workshops. In the 2001/02 over $51,000 was raised and a subsidy of $1.92 was provided to each student. In the 2002/03 the total subsidy is projected to grow to over $55,000 for the school year.