Art Behind the Scenes Education

Community Partner Project: Penfield Montessori Academy

Throughout the month of January, families who visited the Kohl’s Art Generation Studio made art for other kids to enjoy by contributing to a community mural that is displayed at Penfield Montessori Academy.

pma-verticalPenfield Montessori Academy employs a child-centered exploratory approach to learning, while also allowing children with special needs to grow in the classroom amongst their peers. They work in collaboration with Penfield Children’s Center, a fellow Kohl’s Hometown Partner, extending the opportunities that families can receive into their child’s schooling, as well as providing after-school care. Penfield Children’s Center creates a positive start in life for infants and children, many of whom have developmental delays or disabilities, by providing early education, health services, equipment, and family programming.

Penfield Montessori Academy opened for their inaugural school year in September 2016, so our Youth and Family Programs team met with their staff to brainstorm about what we could create to help beautify the school. We decided on a community mural, taking inspiration from artwork at the Museum and Penfield Montessori Academy’s mission of growing and learning together.

Being a part of this process was an amazing experience. I have the pleasure of working with a fantastic team of educators who designed this mural as a way to invite kids and their families to contribute to a project that not only provides them with a unique art making experience at the Museum, but benefits the Milwaukee community as well.

When families dropped by the studio, they drew from real flowers and plants, inspired by Nature and Opulence: The Art of Martin Johnson Heade, using a magnifying glass to get a closer look. They also drew from a variety of school supplies: pencils, scissors, glue, and other items that kids might recognize from their classrooms. Drawings were made directly onto transparencies, which were then transferred to the canvas, and painted. (See photos of the entire process in the slideshow below!)

It’s not quite as simple as I’m making it sound. We had a lot of help from our visitors, as well as incredible staff. But when it all came together… wow! Just look at this beauty!

My favorite part: that sun! [insert heart-eyed emoji here]
We unveiled the mural to the students and staff on February 21st, and boy, were they excited. As a part of the unveiling, Kohl’s Color Wheels, the Museum’s off-site studio program, provided a hands-on art activity to the kids at Penfield. The kids created colorful paintings from real flowers!

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Penfield Montessori Academy and Penfield Children’s Center hold a very special place in my heart with everything they do to serve families in our community. I am constantly amazed by their dedication, and I’m thrilled to call their amazing school home for this mural.

To see more photos from the mural unveiling and the beautiful paintings the kids created, check out the Flickr album.


Explore the Milwaukee Art Museum for FREE!

Mark your calendars for Kohl’s Art Generation Family Sundays: About Face on Sunday, March 12th.  There is a ton to see and do—and admission is FREE for everyone, thanks to Friends of Art.

Get a first look at the new feature exhibition Milwaukee Collects (opens March 10th!), and take part in a variety of activities throughout the Museum. Stop by for a few minutes, or spend the whole day!

Create Your Own Works of Art 
10 AM–4 PM
In Windhover Hall, paint your favorite animal, make a self-portrait, and create exquisite creatures with Walkers Point Center for the Arts. Stop by the Kohl’s Art Generation Studio to sculpt a Face Jug, and find sketching stations set up throughout the galleries!

Enjoy a Variety of Performances in Windhover Hall 
11 AM: Listen to music and draw sounds with Wisconsin Conservatory of Music Suzuki Students
12 PM: Burleigh Elementary Musicians-5th Grade Band
12:20 PM: Burleigh Elementary Musicians-5th Grade Drum Club
12:40 PM: Burleigh Elementary Musicians-5th Grade Orchestra
2 PM: Enjoy dance with the Stuart Steppers

Join a Drop-in Tour
11 AM: Museum Highlights featuring Friends of Art Acquisitions
2 PM: Portraits in the Museum’s Collection
3 PM: Museum Highlights featuring Friends of Art Acquisitions

Chat with a Visiting Artist  
11 AM–3 PM
Mutope Johnson, Painter (find him in Gallery K228)
Ariana Vaeth, Painter (find her in Windhover Hall)

And the fun doesn’t end there. You can pick up an Emoji Art Scavenger Hunt, get your face painted, enjoy over 700 pieces of student artwork from Burleigh Elementary and Carollton Elementary, and more!

Doors open at 10 a.m. See you there!