Thursday, June 17, 2010

Behind the Scenes at GMOA

Education intern Sarah Quinn paints faces at a GMOA Family Day event

One of the primary goals of the Georgia Museum of Art is to promote learning, and this past semester, two interns from our education department have been doing just that. Meet Christina Westpheling and Sarah Quinn, two UGA students on a mission to bring art into classrooms across Georgia.

Christina is about to enter her senior year at the University as a double major in Art History and Classical Culture. During her time interning with GMOA this past semester, she developed the idea for a project called a “Traveling Trunk,” a hands–on teaching packet for 8th grade social studies classrooms. This Traveling Trunk relates works of art from GMOA’s permanent collection to events in Georgia history, and includes cross-curricular activities applying art to history, language arts, music and even math.

“This project has been my own from start to finish, which is a rare opportunity for most interns,” Christina said. “I got to select the works of art I wanted to include, which was a bit like being a kid in a candy shop.”

When the program is launched next year, there will be six “editions” of Christina’s Traveling Trunk in various classrooms across the state. Christina hopes that her hard work will prove inspirational:

“I only hope that when it is used, the Trunk can provide at least a few kids with that spark of understanding that I once received, making art and history truly come alive for them.”

Sarah Quinn is a rising senior as well, majoring in Art History and Studio Art. She was also the recipient of GMOA’s Louis T. Griffith Student of the Year award two years ago. This past semester, she took on the project of developing a “backpack tour” for the museum.

“Essentially, this program is designed to engage students and families visiting the museum with works of art from the permanent selection,” Sarah said.

Sarah began this project by researching backpack tours at other museums to determine what aspects of their programs received the most positive feedback. She then developed GMOA’s backpack around five artists: Georgia O’Keefe, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Thomas Hart Benton and Jacob Lawrence. The backpacks will include biographical information, worksheets, hands-on activities, and follow-up activities.

After all of the hard work these two interns have put in over the past several months, GMOA is excited to launch these two projects next year with the reopening of the museum.

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