“Art Works” is a monthly column that provides bits of know-how and reminders of ways to assure the success of your art program. In the coming year, look for advice and suggestions related to learning about, responding to and making art, integrating art into the curriculum, displaying student work, reaching out to the community, and more.–B.H. A field trip to an art museum is a ver y special occasion for students, one they will long remember and that will initiate an association with museums that will endure throughout their lives. When you plan ahead and schedule a date and time for your class to attend, the museum will probably provide some pertinent information. Some museums may send items in the form of leaflets or visual materials to help prepare your students for what they will be seeing. When you arrive at the museum, you will most likely be greeted by a docent who is trained in conducting group tours and talking with young people about the things they will be seeing. These brief lectures focus on comments and questions to guide students in discovering elements within the composition and responding to the feelings involved. The docents will also tell young viewers something about the artist who created a painting or sculpture, the time and place where he or . Ready, Set, Go to the Art Museum by Barbara Herberholz she lived, and so on. It is, of course, important young viewers understand they may only “touch the artwork with their eyes,” since artworks are very valuable and may be damaged by physical touching. Museums have their own collections of artworks, and they also have changing exhibits on loan for a few months. These artworks have a standard museum label that gives viewers basic information. This includes the artist’s name and life span, nationality, title and date of the work, the medium and the museum accession number or status. (For instance, the number 1976.18 tells us this was the 18th work accepted into the museum’s collection in 1976.) You will often find on the wall at the entrance to a gallery a large sign giving a commentary about the exhibit, or an artist’s statement about his or her work. HELPFUL PRE-MUSEUM RESOURCES As MUSEUM-RELATED BOOKS • Armstrong,C.andPeppin,A.,All My Own Work: Adventures in Art. Frances Lincoln Childrens Books, 1993. • Aukerman,R.,Move Over, Picasso: A Young Painter’s Primer.PatDepkeBooks,1994. • Brown, L.K. and Brown, M., Visiting the Art Museum. Puffin,1992. • Cave,K.,My Journey Through Art: Create Your Own Masterpieces. Barrons Juveniles, 1994. • Dickinson,M.,Smudge.PictureKnight,1989. • Mayhew,J.,Katie’s Picture Show. Hodder & Stoughton, 2009. • The Native American Look Book from the Brooklyn Museum of Art.NewPress,2000. • Wellington,M.,Squeaking of Art: The Mice Go to the Museum.DuttonJuvenile;2000. 16 classroom preparation for a museum visit, sharing such a book as Can You Find It? by Judith Cressy (Harry N. Abrams; 2002) can be very helpful in introducing young students in how to see more details when they view an artwork. The large format and colorful prints are accompanied by information about the artist and painting, as well as some look-and-find challenges. As an example, The Harvesters, an oil painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, was made more than 400 years ago. Students learn this artist is known as “the Elder” because one of his sons, also named Pieter, was an artist, too. Other important painters of the 1500s were painting battle scenes, stories from the Bible and portraits. This artist looked around him at the Flemish landscape and painted lively scenes of peasants who farmed it. These paintings are called “genre” paintings. In The Harvesters, we see them gathering wheat on a warm day, probably in late August or early September. The warm yellows and oranges tell us this. Some peasants are cutting the grain, tying it in sheaves and carrying it away. Some of the peasants are having a lunch break in the shade of the tree that is close to us. So students are directed to find two flying birds, four bowls, two baskets, three cows, one pitchfork, four jugs, one ladder and some apples. Of f the Wall Museum Guides for Kids, a series by Ruthie Knapp and Janice Lehmberg, list a number of intriguing activities to help young students interact with what they are seeing at the museum. For instance, in “You Can’t Find Me,” students are directed to sit on a bench or on the floor in front of a painting while somebody chooses a place in the painting where they want to hide. The other person has to guess their hiding place. In “What Happened Before?” you ask what might have happened before the characters took their place in the painting. Had one of them just gotten back from the dentist? Did they have an argument? Or have students put together a meal they would like to eat from several stilllife paintings. Or they may be asked to search for a portrait that shows a patch of ocean, a boat or a landscape in the upper corner. They may be intrigued with counting the number of reflections they find in a painting. Another example of a book series that helps prepare young children for their museum visit is Come Look with see WORKS on page 42 februar y 2010 x www.ar tsandactivities.com
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