I really like the idea that the students will have to actually look for
things in individual works-more important than seeing lots of work is
looking very carefully at a few. You're onto something wonderful here, and
I'd love to visit you, if my field trip allotment weren't filled for this
Two thoughts to help you develop this tour idea:
One, prepare a small set of slides or posters which can be sent to the
classroom ahead of time. These should be accompanied by some prepared
questions in the format you will use in your exercise at the museum, to
give them a chance to practice before they get there. These images should
be ones they'll pass and recognize enroute to the works you feature with
your story exercise on the tour. When they see something they recognize
they will feel more comfortable and better prepared to participate. Please
be sure to include realistic, abstract, and non-objective art in this story
Two, when they get to the illustration exercise, reverse the process. Story
telling goes both ways. After the above exercise, read a story for them
which they can then illustrate. The idea here being that sometimes pictures
tell stories and sometimes stories tell pictures. You could also read
poetry or an instramental piece of music, which they can illustrate.
Encourage realistic, abstract, and/or non-objective responses.
A few questions about murals: Murals are fun, but in my experience, middle
school aged kids often don't readily cooperate with the group for a mural,
especially when they're making literal imagery. You may find they claim
ownership to a section and just work there, so the mural's composition
might not look like a cooperative effort.
Recently I had a great experience on an artist studio visit with 21 grade 8
students who made four huge abstract murals. I've also had good luck on
other projects when I assigned groups to tasks such as a sky group and a
mountain group, but these group efforts take a lot of time. Perhaps others
with more experience can offer motivation suggestions for one-shot murals
at the middle school level?
Keep up the inspiring work, Julia! I hope to meet you in Springfield one day!
Mark Alexander, 1-8 Art
Lee H. Kellogg School
47 Main Street
Falls Village, Connecticut 06031
IS DENIAL A RIVER IN SPRINGFIELD?
At 9:11 PM 2/25/98, MR THOMAS J COURTNEY wrote:
>Hi, Julia Courtney from Springfield Museums. Thanks for all your
>wonderful ideas. Another question for you all to ponder. I am working
>on a Storytelling Tour for one of our two art musuems. I plan to have
>the tour stop at different paintings and artifacts through out the
>museum, using them to tell or create stories and using storytelling
>as away to interpret works of art. Beginning wth warm-up activities
>to introduce storytelling and prove that everyone is a storyteller
>(pass the face, tell a 1 minute story about..., etc.), and leading up
>to creating an original small group story and then a body sculpture
>depicting the story. Topics or subject matter will be suggested to
>spark ideas (example: worst day of school, something disturbing in
>the society, best birthday, current events, ). The other groups will
>interpret the sculpture and then students can reveal the story that
>they intended. I plan to have the students "find" the stories in
>paintings on their own, by using a clip board and list of questions
>such as: Who is the main character of this painting? What happened
>before this scene? How does color, line, shape, composition, reveal
>elements of the story? How is the mood depicted? What is the mood?
>etc..I would also like to spend time in our studios letting students
>paint their story in mural form. We try to create tours that fill the
>needs of teachers in a variety of disciplines, as we are aware that
>teachers usually have to justify their field trips. Would art
>teachers be interested in this? I think Language Arts and English
>teachers will be. Any suggestions? I am hoping to hit the middle
>school crowd, as we don't have a lot of offerings for that age group.
>Thanks in advance.