Art Literacy FAQ

  • Everything You Wanted to Know About Art Lit Winter/Spring 2022

    Note: River Grove & Palisades Elementary Schools will be holding parents trainings together in 2022 to share resources.

    Reminder: For the 2021-2022 school year, all volunteers on campus during school hours must show proof of COVID vaccine, be registered in the Raptor system, and have read and agreed to the required policy documents. You must also check in and check out at the front desk each time you volunteer.

    What is Art Lit?

    Art Literacy is a program set up for all grade schools and junior high schools in the Lake Oswego School District. It’s run completely by volunteers and paid for by our PTOs (THANK YOU!). We bring art and art concepts into each classroom. Through the program every year, students will:

    • Talk about art, using basic elements and principles of art
    • Learn about important artists and cultures
    • Create their own artworks, inspired by the artists we cover this year

    What do Art Lit classroom volunteers do?

    Art Lit classroom volunteers go into their children’s classrooms a total of seven times a year (only two in 2022). We present a quick 10-15 minute presentation about an artist, stressing specific elements and principles in their art. It’s not an art history lesson; it’s helping children learn how to talk about art and what they’re seeing.

    Then we walk the students through a project based off the work of that artist. We lay out materials for the project and encourage the children to explore art. We help with cleanup. Then we take their art and display it on the walls of the main school building.

    At the end of the year, we put the year’s work in individual portfolios for the students to take home and show off.

    We also have really fun roles behind the scenes to help with trainings, supplies, communications, and more.

    What about the COVID restrictions for parents and volunteers entering the schools?

    We are working to figure out the best way to have Art Lit and keep everyone safe. This may mean we delay the program or provide it virtually. We will keep you posted as this is figured out.

    Who are the artists this year?

    • Febbruary/March– Lawrence
    • April/May – Rembrandt

    What is the time commitment for Art Lit Classroom Volunteers?

    Volunteering for Art Lit takes about three hours a month, (nromally) seven months of the year. That breaks into:

    • About 1.5 hours for the evening training
    • One hour in the classroom
    • Some setup and cleanup, and getting art hung on the walls or off the walls and into storage.
    • On occasion, some prep or lesson modification (especially for younger grades)

    If you can’t commit to all that time, commitment to some is still hugely helpful!

    Where does the presentation come from?

    There’s a large packet of artist information and multiple slideshows for each artist at The coordinator works with the artist presenter to ensure that we have 5-7 slides for the 3rd-5thgrade classes, and 3-4 for the 1st-2ndgrade classes. We also have large posters available for kindergarten classes.

    We will have all the information you need on the River Grove PTO website.

    How does the art project materials get to the classroom?

    Art Literacy materials are on carts in the Art Literacy storage room. Find the one with your teacher on it, and roll it to your classroom. It will contain:

    • Thumb drives with the slideshow, which you can plug into the teacher’s laptop
    • A folder with specific student- or class- earmarked supplies for the project (i.e., paper and mounting materials)
    • All general art supplies needed to create the projects. This can include paintbrushes, painter’s tape, templates, markers, watercolors, etc.

    Do I have to be an artist?


    Do I have to know anything about art?

    No. But you will learn about art. And you may find there’s an artist you love.

    Do I have to talk in front of people?

    One member of the team has to present the artist to the classroom. One member (it can be the same person) also has to present the steps for the project. As long as one person is willing to talk, you don’t have to. You may find, by the end of the year, that you’ll be willing to take this task on.

    How does the schedule for the classroom presentation get set up?

    The teacher provides three to four options that fit the class’s schedule. Then the team gets together and chooses a date/time that will work best for everyone. You provide those dates to the coordinator, and then your time is placed on the master calendar.

    The calendar is first-come, first-served, and we can schedule only two classes at a time at RG and one at a time at Palisafes. We may have to move to a different week – say, the third Friday of the month rather than the second.

    What happens in the evening training session?

    • General information and notices about Art Literacy.
    • A longer presentation about the artist, with specific information about the Element and the Principle that we’ll focus on for this month.
    • The opportunity to discuss the artist and ideas to foster student enthusiasm about the art this month
    • A chance to run through the project so that you can get a better idea about how to help students
      • This can include simplifying the project for younger kids, or setting up materials so that we save time in the classroom.
    • Brainstorming and discussion of how best to present the artist to your classroom(s).

    When are the trainings?

    Feburary 3, 2022
    New Volunteer Orientation: 6:30pm
    Feb/Mar Artist Training: 7:30pm

    March 29, 2022
    May/April Artist Training: 7:30pm
    River Grove Library

    Do I have to attend the training sessions?

    You don’t. We prefer that you do. It is easier if one member of your team can be present, just to get information about the artist and get some experience with the project.

    What if I miss the training session?

    We make sure that all training and project materials are available at the River Grove Art Literacy website. That includes:

    • The slideshows for grades 1-2 and grades 3-5
    • The project with modifications
    • The go-home handout
    • Music CDs if they’re available, which is relevant to the artist of the month (I may suggest a Spotify playlist, as teachers have access to music in the classroom)
    • Supplemental YouTube videos and training materials.

    The full artist packets and slideshows are available at The password for the site is volunteer4loartlit. Our block this year is Block 7. Then click on the individual artists for all information included for that artist in the program. Caveat – the Hokusai information is a new unit this year, so it’s not at the art literacy website.

    The short answer is: we will make sure everything is available to you so that you can still be confident going into the classroom.

    What if I miss a classroom session?

    That happens. That’s why we want to have four (or more) volunteers in each classroom. Projects run really smoothly with at least three volunteers in the classroom. Two experienced volunteers can handle each presentation, unless the materials are tricky. But we want to have redundancy, so that if you have a sick kid or a work emergency, you can miss a session and it can carry on with the other volunteers.

    How do we reschedule a classroom session?

    It happens. We can’t know in September about an April assembly. And people can get sick. Determine a make-up time with the teacher. Then confirm with the coordinator that there’s a cart available for the makeup time, and e-mail to book us it on the master calendar (email address below). Voila!

    What do the students get from Art Lit?

    Confidence, creativity, enthusiasm, interest, joy. Knowledge about art, artists, and artistic elements and principles. Opinions about those art and artists. Also, a really cool portfolio of their art at the end of the year.

    What do I get from Art Lit?

    The answer to that question is longer than this FAQ can handle. 😊

    I have more questions! How do I get hold of you?

    Kristin Sacco, Art Literacy Coordinator,