The ArtWorks program trains volunteer instructors and places them in third grade classrooms throughout the five boroughs of NYC. Instructors visit each class once a week for four weeks leading highly interactive sessions on architecture, sculpture, painting and decorative arts.
A number of different images of art are examined in each workshop. The instructor initiates a dialogue by asking a sequence of questions: “What’s going on in this picture?”, “What do you see that makes you say that” and “Who sees something else?” Factual information about each piece is included to help advance the discussion. Children talk about their observations, listen and build upon the varied views of their classmates, and develop personal opinions based on visual evidence.
The four workshops are followed by a trip to either the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Brooklyn Museum where works studied in class are viewed. ArtWorks volunteer guides greet the children at the museum, divide the students into small groups of six or less and provide a highly personal and customized tour. Parents are encouraged to attend as well.
The museum visit is the highlight of the program. Students are thrilled to see familiar works up close and eager to apply their new visual literacy skills as they explore some of the world’s greatest art. For many, this is their first visit to a world-class museum of this magnitude.
The program concludes with a final classroom session to discuss the museum trip and the experience of viewing fine art up close. Students talk about their favorite art work and the differences between seeing original pieces in the museum and reproduced images in the classroom. Each student is given a free Museum Family Pass and is encouraged to return with their family.
ArtWorks provides training for all volunteers. In 2013, we partnered with the Metropolitan Museum Education Department to develop 3 training workshops led by David Bowles, a highly respected art educator responsible for developing the training for school programs at the Met.
These training sessions explore best practices for inquiry-based learning and engagement strategies for both classroom and museum. Volunteers come away with teaching approaches that can help enrich the learning experience of each child in ArtWorks.