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Lesson Plans

Re: one time visits

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craig roland (rol1851.EDU)
Sat, 22 Nov 1997 10:39:07 -0500

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This discussion provokes memories of a school-sponsored trip I took as a
14-year old to New York City. I recall seeing two works by Andrew Wyeth
and one by Picasso that left a lasting impression on me. One was "Sea
Breeze" which shows a partly opened window and a chiffon curtain slightly
blowing up from the wind coming through the window. I recall standing in
front of this work and actually feeling the wind coming through the window
and the slight smell of salt air.

Another work in this Wyeth retrospective was "Christina's World." I
remember standing in front of that work for several minutes wondering who
was this woman? What was she doing there on the ground? Was someone
calling her from the house? Why was her body so contorted?

The third work was Picasso's Guernica which hung in the Museum of Modern
Art (before being recently moved to Spain). The size of this work struck
me first....then the various abstracted figures (weeping woman, fallen
soldier, etc.,)

My point here is that each of these works touched my soul in some way. I
don't recall any docent talking with us about these works, reading any
literature, playing any museum game, etc., It was, in each case, a brief
encounter with a powerful work of art that left a lasting impression. (To
this day, I use slides of these works in my methods classes.)

I'm not saying that a museum educator or docent can not strengthen this
experience (I particularly appreciate Elizabeth's suggestions in this
area). It just seems to me that the museum (art-viewing) experience is a
very personal one and it is the power of the work itself that leaves "a
lasting impression."


Anel wrote:

>We believe that just because students experience art briefly, that doesn't
>mean that you (as the teacher) cannot help the students make a lasting
>connection between the work and their lives. For example, a child who
>visits an temporary exhibit and gets to see, and maybe manipulate the work
>makes a more lasting connection than a child who just drifts through the
>museum and doesn't really listen to the discussion or take time to really
>see the work. ...snip

Elizabeth wrote:

>I appreciate these comments and suggestions. I also want to add and ask
>educators to be cautious to assume the students are interested and can make
>such connections in a meaningful manner (to other artists, genres, styles,
>media, etc.)....snip

>Some thoughts on making the one-museum-visit (or classroom experience) more
>- Engage students in discussions which create a "polylogue" (as opposed to
>dialogue) between the work of art, themselves, their classmates, their world,
>the museum context, ....snip

>- Remember quality over quantity; it is better to focus on fewer works of art
>and have meaningful polylogues if students are going to remember ANYTHING
>other than how cool it was to not be in school or to be in the art room.
> This can also create a desire and need to return to the museum or to the
>Elizabeth B. Reese

CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
Department of Art, FAC 302, University of Florida, Gainesville Florida.
32611-5801. (352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax
new email address: rolandc

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