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Department of Art

Mentoring the Next Generation of Artists: Jumpst(ART) Connects BYU Students to K-12 Students

BYU Jumpst(ART) and ARTED 326 Class Prepare Elementary Education Major Sky Bragg for Her Future Classroom

BYU’s Jumpst(ART) is an art program for K-12 students hosted by the Department of Art. BYU art education students, who are enrolled in the Art for Elementary Educators (ARTED 326) class, mentor elementary and secondary-age students one-on-one to encourage creative play and teach new art skills.

Sky Bragg, a senior studying elementary education and English, worked with the Jumpst(ART) program during the Winter 2023 semester. The ARTED 326 class was an important step in her education because it prepared her for teaching art in a classroom setting. She found inspiration for her own art and future classroom through the mentoring process.

Bragg answered a few questions about her transformative experience with the Jumpst(ART) students.

Photo by Rebekah Baker/BYU Photo

Q: How does mentoring students in the Jumpst(ART) program benefit your career? 

Bragg: Art is an important part of the elementary curriculum and even though I won’t be teaching art directly, it's still vital that I understand how art can help students with their creativity and cognitive thinking so I can help them apply it to other subjects and make their own connections. It was beneficial for me to work with students learning art so that I can understand how to utilize its benefits in my own classroom.

Q: What have you learned through the mentoring process? 

Bragg: Students are incredibly talented and very good at making connections to their learning. Students I worked with made projects focusing on what you might see during the different seasons. That’s what they were learning in their classroom at the time and it was really impressive to see them apply those science lessons in their art classroom.

Q: What are some challenges you’ve faced working with the Jumpst(ART) program? 

Bragg: I think one of the hardest things about working with the program is trying to cater a lesson plan to each student’s varying level of art experience. Some students are naturally more creative and can come up with their own ideas and some need specific guidelines. It can be difficult to cater to these different students in a way that will allow both of them to be challenged and grow. Each student should be excited about art, but they should also be a little creatively challenged, so you want to meet students where they’re at.

Q: What are some highlights or successes you’ve experienced while working with the Jumpst(ART) program? 

Bragg: One of my favorite parts of working with the Jumpst(ART) program is watching and helping students become invested in art and wanting to do better. One students that I worked with asked me to teach her how to draw people “correctly.” I was able to sit with her for part of the class and show her how to draw someone anatomically correct. Watching students get excited about their own learning is so rewarding, especially when you’re able to help them in their journey.

Q: Does working with this program influence your own creation process or your own art? 

Bragg: As adults it's really easy to get caught up in our own perfectionism and our own ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ in art. Sometimes we forget that part of art is creating and that it’s better to have created something that’s not great than to not have created anything at all. Working with children showed me the looseness of art and what art should really be: a form of self-expression and an exploration of the world. Children are fantastic at using art to help them understand the world — something that is important for adults to remember.