We were excited to view The Art Institute of Chicago’s new Modern Wing at the educator open house. The new edition designed by Renzo Piano makes the Art Institute of Chicago the second largest art museum in the United States. The layout and design of the new galleries that now house the museums 20th and 21st century art collections are impressive but, as educators we were truly amazed by the new Ryan Education Center.
The new eduction space boasts five classrooms, three huge studios, the new Crown Family Education Center and the new David and Marilyn Fatt Vitale Family Orientation Room. Not only are these educational spaces truly state of the art but, have one of the most sought after views in the city as they look onto Millennium Park. The image above was taken on my phone in one of the new studios.
Along with the fantastic educational space , The Art Institute previewed new interactive software and resources featuring pieces from their collections. This July they lunched that material online in an interactive website for kids called the Curious Corner. The site is geared more towards the elementary age child but, also has resources for educators and parents. Visitors can choose form three different categories of interactive games such as Story Time, Match Up and Play with Art. The Match up section is one of our favorites it lets you match texture, shape or sound. Below is a short clip of some of the interactive games children can explore on the site.
(Trouble viewing this video? Try this link.)
Below is a couple of ideas for utilizing the Curious Corner in the classroom.
- Use the “Story Time” games as an introduction to teaching children about the messages, stories and meaning behind many pieces of art.
- Use the “Match Up” sound game as an individual activity for analyzing the parts of a work of art. As a student matches each sound to different area of a piece of art they will notice new details and better understand what is happening in the image.
- Use the Cornell Box section of the “Play with Art” game to have students create a still life that is meaningful to themselves. Print the completed computer still life images and have students use the grid drawing processes to enlarge the image. Choose a media such as colored pencil or chalk for students to add detail to their personal still life drawings.
- Use the “Match Up” game as an introduction or extension activity for concepts like texture and shape.
Share how you could utilize this site in your classroom in the comments section below?
Yesterday the National Assessment of Educational Progress released the 2008 Arts Report Card. This survey and assessment compared 8th grade students in 2008 with those in 1997. Click here to view a sample question in the study then test yourself.
Here are a few of the findings in Visual Arts:
- “Students eligible for National School Lunch Program have lower average responding score in visual arts than those who were not eligible. There is a 29-point score gap between the groups.”
- “Eighth-graders in private schools have higher average creating task score in visual arts than students in public schools.”
Additional insight into the study can be found in a New York Times article.
Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, perhaps summed it up best:
“This Arts Report Card should challenge all of us to make K-12 arts programs more available to America’s children and youth. Such programs not only engage students’ creativity and academic commitment today, but they uniquely equip them for future success and fulfillment. We can and should do better for America’s students.”
This study reminded me of my unofficial job as an advocate for the arts. The TeacherTube video below makes a great case for supporting the arts in every community.
Arts advocacy articles you may find useful:
Age of the Right Brain
Visual Interaction with Art Boosts Academic Achievement
Why Arts Education is Crucial, and Who’s Doing It Best
Arts Appear to Play a Role in Brain Development
Three Rs Are Essential, but Don’t Forget the A – the Arts
Technology Makes Art Education a Bigger Draw
Update 6/17/09: NAEA, Maximizing The Nation’s Arts Report Card - Great review of 2008 Arts Report Card with key findings and links to news press articles.