The Art Center

stART Initiative

The State of Illinois does not currently require visual arts education for grades K-3rd. As a community-focused Art Center, we bridge that gap by supplying schools with standards-based lesson plans and art supplies that meet grade-level expectations. Teachers are given instruction from us on how to complete the lesson so that they may present the lesson to their students in their own classrooms. The Starting with Art Initiative (stART) comes at no cost to the teachers, students, or school districts.

We annually serve over 1,400 K-3rd students with this program. With appropriate funding and support, we intend to expand the program this year to better serve the surrounding Illinois counties (rural Adams, Pike, and Brown) and school districts outside of Quincy.

All provided art lessons are aligned with National Visual Arts Learning Standards and the Grade Level Expectations for Visual Arts in Missouri. Lessons include new vocabulary that will help students to improve their understanding of art, options for accommodation and modification for various types of learners, and materials to create their own project inspired by the lesson. We also offer step-by-step guidance via videos from our Director of Education to help build teacher confidence within the classroom when it comes time for the lesson to be implemented.

The stART Initiative is made possible by:

  • Tracy Family Foundation
  • Samantha Otte Fund through the Community Foundation
  • Quincy Noon Kiwanis
  • Gem City Breakfast Kiwanis
  • Breakfast Optimist Club of Quincy
  • Rotary Club of Quincy
  • Quincy Service Club
  • Illinois Arts Council Agency
  • and from other individual donations

Frequently Asked Questions

This program, formally known as smART Kids, started in 2007 in response to the need for K-3rd grade art education in Quincy area schools. In Spring 2023, The Art Center will undergo a major expansion to this program in order to serve more students in our area. Art lessons and accompanying classroom art supplies will be delivered to participating teachers twice a year.

The lessons will align with the National & Illinois Visual Arts Learning Standards as well as the Grade Level Expectations for Visual Arts in Missouri. Teachers who choose to sign up will receive a lesson plan for their grade level that includes comprehensive pre- and post-assessments, step-by-step lesson outlines with accompanying instructional videos to assist teachers, and enough individually packaged art materials for students to create their very own art projects. Professional development will be provided by our Director of Education, an Illinois licensed and certified K-12 art educator, to help build teacher confidence within the classroom.

The Starting with Art Initiative (stART) is entirely FREE to teachers, students, or school districts. Signing up and participating comes at no cost!

This program serves any practicing K-3rd teacher in Adams, Pike, and Brown Counties who wishes to enroll their class. With appropriate funding and support, we have expanded the program this year to better serve the surrounding Illinois counties and school districts outside of Quincy. 

This program is primarily provided in a digital format via short-form YouTube videos; all art supplies are hand-delivered to schools by our education staff. Each enrolled teacher receives one lesson plan (or multiple lesson plans, provided you teach multiple grade levels between K-3rd) along with links to QAC-produced walkthrough videos that provide instruction regarding the implementation of the art project in the classroom. Options for differentiation, accommodation, and modification are also supplied during these lessons so teachers can tailor their lessons to their individual students. 

For example, one kindergarten teacher with 24 students may choose to sign up for this program. The teacher will later receive a box of individually-packaged art supplies for all 24 students in their classroom (plus a little extra so the teacher can do the project too), a digital and physical copy of the Kindergarten lesson plan for that semester, and an email with links to videos that will appropriately train the teacher how to implement the lesson plan with their students. Each lesson comes with a pre-assessment activity and a larger post-assessment project for a total of two in-classroom activities. If the teacher wishes to receive professional development credits for completion of the program, they must submit three photos of the pre-assessment activity and three photos of the post-assessment project to provide evidence of completion. Once we receive both sets of project photos, the teacher is then awarded 3 Professional Development hours through the Regional Office of Education. Art teachers who teach multiple grades are eligible to receive up to 25 hours of PD.

The Art Center’s stART Initiative is the only program in the area that offers art to K-3rd grade students during the school day and gives teachers the opportunity to earn professional development credits for learning new strategies and implementing these lessons. This program comes at no cost to students or teachers who participate.