• City of Tacoma QA
  • City of Tacoma Data

Arts EnviroChallenger


Arts EnviroChallenger

The Arts EnviroChallenger program builds on the success of the City of Tacoma’s EnviroChallenger program by adding arts education for Pre-K-5 students. The program provides relevant educational opportunities that infuse visual arts and science to increase access to quality arts education and science education and raises student awareness of environmental practices. Best of all, the program is free for schools within Tacoma city limits.


This free program uses an artist-residency model. A professional teaching artist makes four visits to the classrooms of Pre-K through 5th grade teachers. Residency modules align with state standards for visual arts and science for each grade level and reinforce the 5 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Respect, and Responsibility. A detailed overview of the curriculum can be downloaded here.


Project: Enviro-Arts Elements: Creating and Learning through Reusing
Pre-K project Pre-K project 
Arts Connection: Drawing, making shapes/size, line and texture collages, reflecting

Science Connection: Observing, sorting, reusing
Math Connection: Counting, shape, size, and position


Project: EnviroFriends- Reuse and Recycle
Kindergarten project Kindergarten project

Arts Connection: Arranging materials in installations, building symmetrical assemblages

Science Connection: Observing, sorting, constructing, reflecting

Foss Investigations: Paper + Recycling
Math Connection: Shape, counting and symmetry

First Grade
Project: EnviroFlower Mandalas- Turning Trash into Treasure
First grade project First grade project

Arts Connection: Observing plant parts, creating flower collages in radial balance

Science Connection: Observing properties and structures, sorting, using tools and materials

Foss Investigations: New plants
Math Connection: Shape, pattern and symmetry

Second Grade

Project: EnviroCreatures- Invent an Insect

Second grade project Second grade project

Arts Connection: Observing diversity of organisms, building soft sculptures

Science Connection: Observing roles of parts/whole organism, ecosystems, construction problem solving using tools and materials

Foss Investigations: Insects
Math Connection: 2-D shape and 3-D form, symmetry
Literacy Connection: Writing insect descriptions and stories

Third Grade
Project: EnviroBots- Inventions to Help Save the Planet
Third grade project Third grade project

Arts Connection: Constructing mixed-media model robot character sculptures with special roles

Science Connection: Building a model, inventing technologies as solutions to problems

Math Connection: 2-D shape to 3-D form
Literacy Connection: Writing EnviroBot descriptions and stories

Fourth Grade
Project: EnviroStewards- Taking Action
Fourth grade project Fourth grade project

Arts Connection: Communicating a message about positive human impacts on Ecosystems

Science Connection: Analyzing systems and human impacts on natural systems

Literacy Connection: Titling collage and writing an artist statement reflecting message about ecosystem, human stewardship and creative process.

Fifth Grade
Project: Protecting Our Salmon- Superstars of the Northwest
Fifth grade project Fifth grade project

Arts Connection: Creating observational drawings and collages of salmon that convey a message about human impact on local ecosystems

Science Connection: Analyzing human impacts on natural systems

Literacy Connection: Titling collage and writing an artist statement reflecting message about salmon, human impacts on their ecosystems and creative process.  

Booking a Residency

For more information and to schedule a residency, contact Meg Hannan at mhannan@psesd.org or by calling (253) 778-7942 (office) or (253) 282-4396 (cell).



Arts EnviroChallenger supports the City of Tacoma’s goals for educating citizens about sustainable practices in managing solid waste; promotes the value of arts and science education; and collaborates with the Tacoma School District to create relevant learning opportunities.   


  • Increase opportunities for authentic arts education
  • Increase opportunities for environmental education, especially relating to solid waste
  • Support key messaging of the City of Tacoma’s EnviroChallenger Program


New construction in 2011 at the Tacoma Landfill – the Recovery & Transfer Center and remodeling of the administration and shop buildings – triggered the City of Tacoma’s percent for art program that devotes 1% of construction costs of capital projects to the creation of public art. Environmental Services replaced bond dollars with operational dollars to support programmatic use of the funds.


The Tacoma Arts Commission approved the Arts EnviroChallenger concept in January 2011. The City then contracted with Arts Impact, a program of Puget Sound Educational Service District, to develop the Arts EnviroChallenger program. The program was piloted beginning in January 2012 and launched to all Tacoma Public Schools in fall 2012.  Partners include The Tacoma Arts Commission, Arts Impact and the Puget Sound Educational Service District.

  go to Arts Impact