The Academy Art Museum’s ArtReach program has touched the lives of over 10,000 students, teachers, and chaperones on the Mid Shore over the past four years alone. ArtReach offers students in Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester and Queen Anne’s counties the opportunity to tour an exhibition at the Museum and then work on a related visual arts project that they can take back to school. The Museum recently received a $25,000 grant from the Mid-Shore Community Foundation’s Artistic Insights Fund to help cover the costs of these educational field trips for students on the Mid Shore.
ArtReach is the heart and soul of the Museum’s youth programs, and for many children in this rural area, it represents their only chance to visit an art museum. Constance Del Nero, Director of ArtReach & Community Programs, comments, “Museum field trips are one of the most cost-effective ways of improving children’s educational experiences. Teachers rely on ArtReach so their students can view and discuss art, consider what it means to be an artist, and understand why the arts are fundamental to a culturally rich society.”
The Museum has a track record of offering world-class art exhibitions by such visionaries as James Turrell, Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg, and Peter Paul Rubens, as well as by local artists like Katherine Allen and Kyung-Lim Lee. Through the Museum’s exhibitions, students have seen a variety of art created by people from many different backgrounds and time periods, learned about the world in which these artists live(d), and worked on specially-designed visual arts projects designed to consolidate their experiences.
According to Del Nero, art-viewing sparks feelings and debate and art-making offers new ways to develop critical thinking skills and expression. ArtReach also offers a subsidiary program called Museums in the Museum! in which students visit the Museum multiple times during the school year, consider what it means to “be” a museum, pay close attention to the wall text, and create their own miniature museums in diorama boxes.
Robbin Hill, Chief Program Officer for the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, comments, “Through the Museum’s ArtReach program, Mid-Shore teachers and children are provided with a unique opportunity for non-school, hands-on integration of the arts into their curriculums. It is a successful initiative that helps children think outside the box by providing them with thought-provoking ideas.”
To have an ArtReach experience, teachers book a field trip to the Museum to see a certain exhibition. Students are welcomed to the Museum and tour the exhibition with a guide. Museum tours are interactive and designed to engage students with the material and trigger meaningful questions. Student observations are honored and discussed. After the tour, students go to an art studio where they work on a related project that they can take back to school with them. Projects are specifically designed to reinforce what students have learned and are tweaked to be appealing to all age groups.
The Academy Art Museum’s exhibitions are sponsored by the Talbot County Arts Council and the Maryland State Arts Council. For further information about planning a trip through the Museum’s ArtReach Program, contact Constance Del Nero, Director of ArtReach & Community Programs at [email protected] or call 410-822-2787.