Art Education Creates New Program
‚??Language Artists: Creature Connections,‚?Ě created in partnership with Kendall, the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), and the Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) was launched as a pilot program designed specifically for third grade educators and students combining literacy and the visual arts for a field trip like no other. The project was conceived as a unit of study where third grade students explore the Art Museum while building essential skills such as cause/effect, compare/contrast, and elements of narrative.
Kendall and GRAM worked with GRPS curriculum specialists, literary coaches, teachers, and support staff to develop a specialized program that includes a teacher packet with CD, pre-visit literacy and art activities, and post-visit lesson plans to guide classroom learning and exploration.
The pilot program focused on highlights from GRAM‚??s permanent art collection by using inquiry-based teaching strategies similar to those in the provided mentor text How Artists See Animals by Colleen Carroll.
Supporting the program, GRAM received an award for an Arts Education in American Communities grant by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in the amount of $10,000. The NEA grant required a local matching gift. Farmers Insurance Group, an organization that has supported GRAM‚??s education efforts since 2004, made the matching gift.
GRAM was invited by the NEA to apply for the Arts Education in American Communities grant to support ‚??Language Artists: Creature Connections.‚?Ě Specific funding is for development of instructional strategies, a teacher resource CD, and curriculum materials. Funds are used to support GRAM‚??s Education Department, program consultants, guest speaker honorariums, a program book, and printed materials including teacher packets, classroom posters, CD materials, and in-gallery training/presentation materials.
A special after-hours event took place at GRAM on May 17 and included a display of 53 artworks and writing samples from some of the recent GRPS student participants in the program. Over 300 parents, teachers, literacy coaches, and children (including the third grade students, a.k.a. Language Artists) attended the event that featured keynote speaker Dr. Cindy Todd, Program Chair of Art Education for Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University, who presented ‚??Art and Literacy: The Brain Connection.‚?Ě