The visual arts are taught by certified art teachers at all secondary schools in the Abilene Independent School District. These teachers guide students in the discovery of art and artists of different time periods and cultures, helping students view art as a reflection of society.Through participation in art activities, students develop their innate creativity and increase their critical thinking processes.
The Abilene Independent School District is very committed to the partnership it shares with The Grace art museum. The Grace provides certified art instruction to students in all eleven Title 1 elementary schools as well as providing specialized artists-in-residence instruction in all elementary schools.
Art classes are offered in all of the middle schools where students are encouraged to develop artistic skills through a sequential curriculum according to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. There are additional opportunities for advanced middle school art students to take Pre-Advanced Placement art for high school credit.
Hundreds of students are involved in the art and photography classes offered at the high school level. Advanced art students are given the opportunity to take multiple Pre-AP and AP Studio Art classes, as well as AP Art History. High school art and photography students enter artwork in the district Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE). Numerous AISD students have advanced to, and earned awards in, the state VASE competition. Both high schools’ AP art test scores are ranked in the top ten in the state.
AISD visual arts students have their work exhibited several times each year at various places in the city. During March, which is Youth Art Month, The Grace hosts an area-wide exhibition of student art work, in which all AISD secondary art classes participate. In addition, One AISD Center, the district’s administration building, showcases the artwork of our student artists, rotating the exhibits every six weeks.
The Abilene Education Foundation (AEF) presents the Young Master’s Juried Art Exhibition for AISD Advanced Art Placement Students. This annual Exhibition celebrates young master artists and their dedicated teachers for demonstrating excellence in artistic education with a quality museum art exhibition, held in alternating years at either The Grace Museum or The National Center of Children’s Illustrated Literature. The Young Masters exhibition extends the supporting role of AEF with AISD and impacts the future of not only the students selected for the show, but all AP art students by inspiring them to reach their full potential. Additionally, it provides students acclamation that may further enhance opportunities for acceptance into premier higher education art programs.
The Exhibition is judged by a professional artist of national recognition. The Best of Show, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Place, three Merit winners and Honorable Mention winners are announced each year at a reception honoring the student artists and their teachers. $5,000 of college scholarship money is awarded annually to our winners.