History of AGTS

Background of Art Goes to School

In 1962, the Junior League of Philadelphia initiated a program called Art Goes to School, which is an art appreciation program designed to introduce children to significant works of art via high-quality reproductions. AGTS is geared toward individual classroom discussion at the elementary level.

School Bus name tags that CB AGTS members wear.

Initially AGTS was staffed by Junior League volunteers; in 1964, PTA school mothers joined the program. In 1971, AGTS became a self-governing organization that was no longer under the auspices of the Junior League. Today the majority of groups recruit members from the schools in which they teach and from the community at large. The organization is governed by a steering committee composed of two representatives from each participating school district and an elected executive committee that guides the steering committee.
AGTS is a self-supporting, non-profit organization incorporated in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It is currently comprised of 46 groups from both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Pennsylvania counties include Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, Bucks, Berks, and Lancaster; New Jersey counties include Camden, Burlington, Gloucester, Cumberland, Hunterdon and Atlantic. Although the AGTS program is geared to reach elementary grades K-6 in all public, private, and parochial schools in each district, many groups reach out to nursery, middle, and high schools, special schools and classes for the handicapped, and senior citizens groups.
The primary purpose of the program is to stimulate in the young child an interest and delight in art from all schools and historical periods. The volunteers help children discover for themselves an enjoyment and understanding of works of art. A background in art might be useful to a volunteer; however, the only prerequisites to join are a genuine interest in art and a sincere desire to work with children. The dedicated men and women range in age from 18 to 80 +; educational levels of the volunteers range from GED to Ph.D.
A fall lecture series and special programs are held in various locations to enrich the knowledge of each volunteer. Each group is required to hold local workshops to distribute and share research on all the artists and pictures within its assigned portfolio, to clarify classroom procedures and suggest teaching techniques. All new members must observe seasoned volunteers in several classroom situations before teaching their first class.