History of Art Literacy in Lake Oswego


1981 Art Literacy Program originates with a parent in the Beaverton School District.

1984 Picture Lady Program in place at Lake Grove Elementary School

Art Literacy in Lake Oswego begins at Westridge Elementary School, introduced by school

principal, Elaine Taylor. Barbara Welling, Lake Oswego School District Volunteer Coordinator, attends a volunteer

Coordinator meeting in Beaverton and learns about their Art Literacy Program. Beaverton

generously shares their printed materials with Lake Oswego. Tigard also has an Art Literacy

Program and shares materials.

1985 School Coordinators selected and Art Literacy Program initiated at all elementary schools

in the district. Each school creates a “Block,” consisting of historical information, slides and

reproductions of six artists and the art of one culture. The Blocks are rotated within the school

district every year. Parent associations at each school contribute funds to finance the program.

The school district also contributes funds for materials. Barbara Welling serves as the District


1988-1991 Barbara Welling retires and is replaced by Marabee Bertelsen.

Barbara Lane Fisher, a school Coordinator with a degree in art and former elementary teacher,

begins functioning as the Art Literacy District Coordinator. She attends Beaverton Art Literacy

training workshops and Discipline Based Art Education graduate classes. Under Barbara’s

leadership district-wide training continues. Coordinators begin meeting frequently to implement

changes intended to standardize and improve the program. Reorganization and improvements


Philosophy & Program Goals rewritten

  • Art Elements and Art Principles defined
  • Guide written to help volunteers with pronunciation of artists’ names
  • Glossary of art terms written
  • All reference materials mentioned above organized into a formal Volunteer Notebook
  • Materials reorganized on the Discipline Based Art Education (DBAE) model
  • DBAE training begins for Coordinators and then classroom volunteers
  • Cathy Cain, a Lake Oswego parent and artist who teaches in Beaverton, trains
  • Coordinators in DBAE Aesthetic Scanning techniques
  • Existing Blocks standardized and new Blocks created for Palisades and Oak Creek
  • District-wide standards for the program formalized
  • Cover Sheets (a brief summary for volunteers and teachers currently called “This Month
  • in Art Literacy”) are written for all units
  • Professional slides and reproductions purchased
  • New slide lists written and written information, slides and a music tape or CD organized
  • into standardized Notebooks for each artist or culture
  • Multicultural Resource Center used as a resource
  • Volunteers to staff the program are actively recruited

1989-1990 Formal job description for school Coordinators is written.

1992 Our Lady of the Lake School joins the program bringing the total of participating schools

to ten. They create a new Block. Emphasis on Criteria-Based Hands-On art projects; the Art Elements, Art Principles and

vocabulary students use to study a piece of art are also used in their follow-up hands-on project.

1993 Marilyn Katcher and Barbara Lane adapt existing Art Literacy program and introduce it to

the Junior High Schools. Marilyn becomes the first school Coordinator at Waluga JHS and

Barbara becomes the first school Coordinator at Lake Oswego JHS.

1995 Barbara Lane Fisher, District Coordinator, retires. Five-member Executive Board (known

as The Resource Team) takes over her job.

Art Literacy Coordinator’s Handbook written by

Sally Hedman.

2000 New Training Video produced. Michael Magaurn of Magaurn Video Media generously

donates the use of his video production company, Sally Hedman writes the script and Liz Martin,

school volunteer and professional actress narrates the film.

First Art Literacy exhibit at the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts – Lakewood Center

2001 Ellen Freedman and Julie Smith begin rewriting and reformatting the artists’ Blocks. The

project takes five years and produces over seventy rewritten and reformatted notebooks.

2004 Lake Oswego Junior High School becomes the first school to replace slide presentations

with PowerPoint presentations

2004 Art Literacy is selected by the Lake Oswego Foundation for the Arts to receive its Arts


2005 Art Literacy websites for each school are created by a parent volunteer.

2006 All artist notebooks rewritten, reformatted and archived on CD’s.

Community celebration of the 20th anniversary of Art Literacy in Lake Oswego held at the Farmer’s Market in Millennium Park on September 16.

2011 One elementary school is closed due to district budget deficit.

2012 Two more elementary schools are closed. Blocks are completely reassigned. Sixth grade moves to Jr. High and new units are written to compliment the social studies curriculum. Art Literacy district webiste is established