Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


Art Education

Committee Chair

Alison Helm

Committee Member

Annie McFarland

Committee Member

Joseph Lupo


Despite the overwhelming research that suggests visual artmaking experiences can produce positive outcomes for individuals, many state art education policies fail to implement and integrate the arts into core academic curriculums. Specifically in the state of West Virginia, kindergarten through twelfth grade students often lack the access to a quality and consistent art education. With high teacher-pupil ratios and inclusive learning environments, educators face the difficult task of meeting all the individual needs of their students’ in the classroom. This not only affects whole student populations, but also poses risks for children who have been exposed to trauma. Traumatic experiences in early childhood can cause a range of severe negative outcomes. West Virginia has seen a rise in child victims and the occurrence of traumatic childhood e since 2015, making it more apparent than ever that children need resources to help them heal and mitigate the impact trauma can have on their lives. School communities are increasingly implementing trauma-informed programs that provide students with the proper interventions they need. Although these programs already have invaluable benefits, there seems to be a gap in research between the interventions of currently established programs and the possibilities artmaking experiences can provide for trauma exposed students. This exploratory case study investigates how to design art lessons that promote the development of students in the kindergarten through second grade classroom who have been identified with exposure to trauma. This research particularly focuses on understanding how art lessons can promote cognitive and fine motor development for these students in the art room. Finally, this research examines the role an art education can play in supporting these students within trauma-informed school communities.

Included in

Art Education Commons