Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Fine Arts (Integrated Arts and Education)

Department or School/College

Creative Pulse Program

Committee Chair

Karen Kaufmann

Commitee Members

Morgen Alwell, Lulu Delphine


inclusive education, fine arts integration, special education


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Accessibility | Art Education | Disability and Equity in Education | Fine Arts | Special Education and Teaching


This paper chronicles the development and completion of a schoolwide living mural project created through the cooperation of every student in an elementary school in Northwest Montana as a way to facilitate inclusive education. The project was fashioned to allow students who are educated in a self-contained classroom the chance to interact with their peers through a schoolwide art project. This involved creating two murals to experience the benefits of the arts; to educate the student body on how to interact with students with disabilities; to demonstrate to general educators how to facilitate the inclusion of all students; and to give the student body the opportunity to work together among a diverse population while engaging in the arts. The backdrop for the murals is the historical adaptation of Glacial Lake Missoula. The lessons implemented connect the history of the area with fine arts integration through the support of the school and community. Elements of visual art, music, movement, and creative dance have been incorporated into the lessons associated with this project, giving all students a chance to enjoy, participate in, and benefit from inclusive education and the arts. Finally, this project incorporated collaboration with all grade level teachers in the school, with the Parent Teacher Organization, and with other administrators, staff, and faculty members, supporting successful inclusive practices. The inspiration for this project, as well as much of the research and fine arts practices used, came from a master’s program offered at the University of Montana, called the Creative Pulse, where teachers are taught to enhance their instruction by integrating fine arts into the curriculum, increasing creativity, and using meaningful interdisciplinary practices for their students.



© Copyright 2016 Desiree Valentino