Docent Information

We welcome our newest volunteer Docents and School Chairpersons!

The Art to Grow On program is a great opportunity for you to enrich the students at your school. Through the volunteer efforts of our local artists, docents and board members we are able to provide a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity for students in the San Pedro, Lomita, and Palos Verdes area schools.

So where do you start?

Every year the Art to Grow On program offers 5 different and unique multimedia art projects to participating schools. Projects are prepared by local artists and focus on a variety of past and modern artists and their techniques and creative styles. Each project is designed for students in grade levels K-8 and the overall cost is kept to under $1.20/student. Past projects include sand sculptures, painting, modeling with clay, and drawing with a variety of media. Instruction also includes information on the artist who inspired the project and/or the history of the techniques. It is hoped that the students will take away not only their finished art projects, but a bit of art appreciation as well.

The Art to Grow On Board meets monthly through the school year (Sept - May) and at least 1 representative from each participating school is encouraged to attend. Paperwork and docent training project fees need to be paid at the beginning of the year, and each school will be asked to participate in a set-up and cleanup group on one of the 5 project training days.

Docents from each school will meet at the United Methodist Church in San Pedro five times throughout the year to learn the new project. These hands-on trainings are a lot of fun. We ask that each school send everyone who will be involved in teaching the projects to students to this group docent training. You will learn great techniques and see anywhere from 80-100 other finished works from the attending docents.

The schedule for ATGO board meetings and the five training workshops is available on the calendar page.


ATGO project volunteer request send home. Comes 4-up.

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ATGO Donation Request Flier

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Tips for Docents:

  • Let the teachers know ahead of time what the project is and some info on the artist so that they can prepare students for the experience
  • Review the lesson and the project steps before teaching the class, don't just read from the printed material. You'll keep student attention better if you have eye contact and confidence in your plan.
  • Have enough helpers in the classroom
  • Don't begin until you have the complete cooperation of the class.
  • Speak slowly and make sure you have the classes attention
  • Use very simple language geared toward the age level of the class and repeat the directions a few times. Confirm they understand the steps
  • Write instructions on the board for older students
  • If you are nervous try sitting down or getting on their eye level
  • Be positive not critical. Remember there are no mistakes
  • Never draw or paint on a students work. Use your finger or a pointing tool to indicate possible changes or suggestions.
  • Relax and be yourself and have a great time. Remember children are non-judgemental and are very glad you are there.

Getting artists past their 'roadblocks'

"I can't do it!"

  • Look at the examples one more time
  • Close your eyes and draw a beginning on your page
  • Is there another idea you'd like to try?
  • Start with basic shapes
  • Look around at how others are starting

"I'm bored"

  • Stop for a while then and look around at others work to inspire you
  • Do something different on the back of your paper

"I don't like this project"

  • What changes would you make to it?
  • Surprize me with your ideas

"What color do I use next?"

  • Take a look at the colors you've used. You could repeat some.
  • What color do you like with 'orange'
  • Hold your drawing up. What color do you think it needs for balance

"How do you draw 'x' ?"

  • Think about what it would be like to be "x"
  • Look around at how others are drawing it
  • Can you see any basic shapes you can start from
  • Take a look at the examples on the board and pick one spot to start from
  • It can be anything you want it to be it's your 'x'
  • Reach into your imagination and create your own 'x'

"I'm finished"

  • Let a friend hold up your artwork across the room while you think about it.
  • Stop for a few minutes and coe back to it, maybe you'll have some more ideas
  • Are there any empty spaces that need to be filled in
  • Yes! you definitely are. Go look at what others are doing