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Behind the Scenes Education

The Art of Education: My Teaching Journey at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Steven, Sensei, and Dre'Shawn working on their projects. Photo by Chelsea Kelly
Steven, Sensei, and Dre’Shawn working on their projects. Photo by Chelsea Kelly
Editor’s Note: I’m thrilled to share another post from my intern, Jessica Janzer, whose previous piece focused on the Fall 2011 session of Satellite, one of our teen programs. In this post, Jessica reflects on her teaching practice, which is informed by her art education degree program as well as her work as an intern here at the Museum. Jessica’s thoughtful comparison of two different ways of teaching is great food for thought for all of us who are interested in education and the arts. –Chelsea Kelly, Manager of Digital Learning

As I am getting into the meat of my Art Education B.F.A. major at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I am finding more and more just how well my internship at the Milwaukee Art Museum compliments and contrasts with what I am learning academically.

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Education

ArtWorks 2012: What’s in a Name?

Albert hard at work on a found art piece. Photo by the author
Albert hard at work on a found art piece. Photo by the author

How often do you really consider the implications of naming something?

That is exactly what sixteen teens in the spring ArtWorks program here at the Museum did last Thursday. After looking closely at the artists and works of art in Accidental Genius: Art From the Anthony Petullo Collection, we worked together as a group to think deeply about the meanings of a name, how and why art is categorized, and whether or not such categories can ever really be correct.

The ArtWorks program is an eight-week paid internship program for Milwaukee-area teens. Sixteen participants work together to create a public work of art that positively addresses an issue in the Milwaukee community, this year inspired by the works of art in Accidental Genius. They also mentor young elementary school students, touring them through the exhibition and creating art with them.

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Education

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!

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Education

On Tim Gunn and Gallery Teaching

Georgia O'Keeffe, Blue B, 1959. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum. Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley. Photo credit Larry Sanders. ©2010 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Georgia O'Keeffe, Blue B, 1959. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum. Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley. Photo credit Larry Sanders. ©2010 Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

A few weeks ago, I walked home from work at around 7 PM. The city was already dark and the lights of the office buildings were still sparkling, and I was still thinking about my teens in the Satellite program. We had talked about the work of Georgia O’Keeffe that day and our hour-long conversation about her work had been rich and layered. We asked questions of Georgia, of ourselves, of art in general:

Why do we have art in our lives? What are the intentions of artists? Even when they write down what they were up to, is it okay to disagree with what they say about their work, or should that be where we stop? What role does our personal interpretation play in a work of art? What happens when artists give up their work to the world? And after they do so can (or should) they have a say over how people feel about it?

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Education

Hip-Hop in the Galleries, Inspired by Art

Dwight and Marquis Gilbert demo music-making in front of Jim Campbell, Jim Campbell, Taxi Ride to Sarah's Studio, 2010. LEDs, wire, custom electronics. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from the Contemporary Art Society. © Jim Campbell. Photo by the author
Dwight and Marquis Gilbert demo music-making in front of Jim Campbell's Taxi Ride to Sarah's Studio, 2010. LEDs, wire, custom electronics. Milwaukee Art Museum, Purchase, with funds from the Contemporary Art Society. © Jim Campbell. Photo by the author.

Scratching, turntables, bass, melodies, rhythm. Not exactly vocabulary you’re used to hearing about in an art museum, is it?

In an experiment with H2O Milwaukee Music/the Peace Propaganda Project, an urban music education organization, we put teens, music educators, and video art all together in a gallery to see what would happen.

The mission: Create an original piece of music inspired by Jim Campbell’s Taxi Ride to Sarah’s Studio (2010).

First, we took 15 minutes to look closely at the piece, which is made up of many small LED lights programmed to blink at certain intervals, creating an unusual video installation (see video below). Teens immediately centered in on one of Campbell’s primary interests: visually representing peripheral vision. Then, with an array of equipment–turntables, laptops, keyboards, subwoofers, speakers–we set about creating a piece of music inspired by the look, mood, and rhythm of Campbell’s piece.

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Education

The Bus Unveiled–Art Xpress 2011

Photo by Mark Hines
Photo by Mark Hines

I promised you an unveiling of the bus mural created entirely by City of Milwaukee teens. Here it is!

Fourteen of the city’s young artists came together for three weeks over the summer to create a mural that used the themes and symbols from the Museum’s Summer of CHINA exhibitions to inspire a bus mural positively addressing an issue in the Milwaukee community.

Below, find lots of images of the teens, their families, teachers, and friends celebrating their hard work at the reception in early October. For more information about the program and the work behind the mural, check out this blog post from last month. And if you really want to get involved with teen programs, “like” the Teens at Milwaukee Art Museum page on Facebook.

Categories
Behind the Scenes Education

“Help Harmony Blossom”–Art Xpress 2011

Araceli puts finishing touches on her panel for the mural.
Araceli puts finishing touches on her panel for the mural.

This summer, fourteen teens from all around the Milwaukee area came together for three packed weeks with a hefty task: to create a mural for the side of a Milwaukee County Transit System bus that would address an important issue in the community, inspired by themes in the Museum’s The Emperor’s Private Paradise exhibition of Chinese art.

That’s right: these teens, pretty much all on their own, had to design a bus mural that included a thought-provoking slogan, a high quality work of public art, and which, as a whole, positively encouraged a viewer to consider how we can improve our city. When I bragged about these teens and their work to my friends, family, and colleagues, I got some raised eyebrows. No one asked, but I could see it in their eyes:

Fourteen people all work together on a project like this? On a public art piece that would be displayed for an entire year?

How could adults accomplish that, they seemed to say, let alone teens?