Teens and Art: An Intern’s Experience

Gabby made pies inspired by Wayne Thiebaud's "Refrigerator Pies."
Gabby made pies inspired by Wayne Thiebaud's "Refrigerator Pies."

This past semester, I was fortunate enough to have a talented, dedicated art education student named Jessica Janzer interning as a teaching assistant for the Satellite High School Program. Jessica worked hard every Thursday and Friday on all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating a program, and also taught one of the sessions. As part of her internship, she wrote the below blog post reflecting on the program. I’m thrilled that Jessica will continue to intern with me in the spring semester, too! –Chelsea Kelly, School & Teacher Programs Manager

The Milwaukee Art Museum. To most, the Museum is a beautiful and almost untouchable place – a place of high class and good taste, and of course, it is also Milwaukee’s most attractive asset. When I saw an internship opening there, I promptly jumped on the opportunity. The fact that I would be working at the Museum excited me, but I was intrigued even further when I learned it would be in the Education Department!

Art Collection Curatorial Prints and Drawings

A one-hour exhibition: “Winter Scenes Across the Ages”

East Side Street in Winter Richard H. Jansen  n.d. Gouache sheet: 17 1/4 x 23 3/4 in. (43.82 x 60.33 cm)  Layton Art Collection, Gift of Layton Art League
Richard H. Jansen (American, 1910–1988), East Side Street in Winter, n.d. Gouache sheet: 17 1/4 x 23 3/4 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of Layton Art League, L1948.2.

Last week I had the opportunity to drop in on a new event at the Museum. It was a one-hour exhibition featuring “Winter Scenes Across the Ages” from the prints and drawings collection. It was a perfect winter day, all blizzardy as I walked to my internship at the Museum. A better setting could not have been wished for to coincide with the winter theme of the pop-up exhibition.

I had encountered this event through the Museum’s Web site, on the Calendar + Events page. I try to check it regularly as not to miss out on the numerous special programs that are available. I was thrilled at the  opportunity to encounter art that is so rarely seen by the public (how exciting!) And, as someone interested in the inner workings of museums, I thought it was simply a brilliant idea! Museums try to find new ways to engage the public and share their collections, and to me this seemed like a lively way to see prints and drawings based on a timely issue. In this case: Winter!

American Art Collection Curatorial

From Museum Storage–Elihu Vedder’s “Star of Bethlehem”

Elihu Vedder (American, 1836–1923) Star of Bethlehem, 1879–80 . Oil on canvas; 36 3/16 x 44 3/4 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Montgomery Sears, M1925.2
Elihu Vedder (American, 1836–1923), Star of Bethlehem, 1879–80 . Oil on canvas; 36 3/16 x 44 3/4 in. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Montgomery Sears, M1925.2.

Thanksgiving has come and gone and you know what that means – the “holiday” season is officially upon us!

If you hadn’t already experienced  red and green decorations and Christmas music vying for your attention in October before your pumpkin could be carved, then surely by now, during this week of creative reuse of turkey, you have noticed that December’s holiday mania has set in.

Cue: Sweaty palms, anxiety over what gifts to buy, and finding time to do get it all done. All so that you can have a merry, happy, snowy holiday celebration full of family, friends, food, gifts, etc…whew!

The frantic holiday scene I’ve described is starkly in contrast to the peaceful one we find in Star of Bethlehem created by American painter Elihu Vedder in 1879-80.

Behind the Scenes Education

How Do They Do That?

Tools for the project and the 3/16" scale drawing.
Tools for the project and the 3/16" scale drawing.
Hi, I’m Kelli, one of the gallery and art preparators working behind the scenes here at the Milwaukee Art Museum. I’m one of the “they” who does what they “do”.

If you’ve been to the museum more than once, you’ve noticed that some of the galleries change from time to time. Sometimes we move paintings to a different spot in the room, other times we’ll move the walls into a different formation. This time, I’ve painted the walls and the carpet. That’s right–I said carpet.

Behind the Scenes Education

Meet Ayiana, Voice of our Family iPod Touch Tours!

Ayiana is hard at work recording the "A is for Art" tour. Photo by Sandy Goldberg.
Ayiana, hard at work recording the "A is for Art" tour. Photo by Sandy Goldberg.
Get ready: The Museum is launching its first iPod Touch Tour for families on March 12, 2011! It is currently in production. Here’s Ayiana Scott–she is 7 years old and one of our narrators for the A is for Art tour, designed especially for younger viewers. She’s the voice behind the tour.

Behind the Scenes

Snow Day

View of the Museum on the morning of Thursday, February 3, 2011
View of the Museum on the morning of Thursday, February 3, 2011
On Wednesday, February 2, the Museum joined more than a thousand other organizations, schools, and businesses and took a day off in observance of the powerful—and beautiful—art of snow. The sculpted drifts and chiseled voids captured the nation’s attention. How could one not take notice of the blizzard’s swirling dances and howling bass as the sky and the ground were painted with fluid and at times violent strokes? Many people took pictures, documenting this strange new coating of the landscape. Routines were disrupted, and we were forced to look anew at the buildings, streets, and passageways we often dismiss as we go about our day. We’re reminded of our mortality and our insignificance. We both fear and delight in the choreography of hundreds of millions of snowflakes.

Art Curatorial

From the Collection–Rubens Peale “Apple and Two Pears on a Pewter Plate”

Rubens Peale (American, 1784–1865), Apple and Two Pears on a Pewter Plate, 1861. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, Layton Art Collection. Photo by John R. Glembin.

In the American Collections of the Milwaukee Art Museum is an example of the long-standing artistic tradition, the still life painting. Apple and Two Pears on a Pewter Plate (1861) by Rubens Peale, speaks both to the history of the still life genre and the Peale family’s American artistic dynasty.

Historical origins of the still life trace back to antiquity, but it was not until the Renaissance that still life painting rose and flourished as a distinct tradition, when painters throughout Europe explored the art of painting a carefully arranged assemblage of objects.


To be an artist at Yale in 1964…

View of Chuck Close painting of Nancy Graves from standing in front of Graves' "Object Disguised 4 Times”, Milwaukee Art Museum Gallery #27

One of the highlights for visitors to the Milwaukee Art Museums is Chuck Close’s 1968 portrait of Nancy Graves, with its incredible, photo-realistic virtuosity and its huge scale amplifying every facial imperfection in a disquieting, surreal way.

Visitors may not realize that the subject of the painting, Nancy Graves, was a celebrated artist in her own right.

Best known for her early sculptures of highly realistic camels (in a conceit that turned the museum into the zoo), she later incorporated banal objects like children’s toys into Alexander Calder’s and David Smith’s high modernist language of constructed sculpture. Graves was also a painter, and one of her paintings, Object Disguised 4 Times, 1982, is on view in the new installation of the contemporary art galleries.

Art Membership

The Woodgatherer in my memory, and on a bag!

Jules Bastien-Lepage, Le Père Jacques (Woodgatherer), 1881. Milwaukee Art Museum, Layton Art Collection, Gift of Mrs. E. P. Allis and her daughters in memory of Edward Phelps Allis. Photo by John R. Glembin.

When I was a freshman in high school, I came to the Milwaukee Art Museum on a field trip with my art class. We were instructed to sit in front of Jules Bastien-Lepage’s The Woodgatherer (1881) and take as many notes as possible on what we saw and what it meant to us, so that we could later write a paper on it.