On Saturday, September 22, the School Programs team collaborated with Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth on an all-day Himalayan Art Encounters program. The Center for Talented Youth (CTY) offers gifted and talented K-12 students a wide range of academic opportunities, including many museum programs. For their program at the Rubin, about 40 parents and kids (ages 11-13), came to the Education Center for a whole day of exploring the arts and culture of Himalayan Asia with Larissa, David, Marilyn, and Jennifer.
Himalayan Art Encounters usually take the form of two in-school sessions and a museum visit over the span of a couple of weeks. For CTY, we combined three experiences in one day at the museum. Parents and kids worked together to observe, discuss, create, and, most importantly, learn from each other. Our goal for the day was to encourage curiosity about the art of Himalayan Asia, the Rubin Museum, and museums in general, while maintaining a high level of academic rigor. We were really inspired by the insights, enthusiasm, and creativity of this unique group of participants.
We started the day with an Artifact Investigation Workshop. Students and parents, working in small groups, made close observations about objects in the teaching collection. Using these observations, each group was able to deduce some things about how the object is used, how it was made, or even what it is. This workshop answered some questions about the artifacts, created some new questions, and got a conversation started that continued into the galleries.
In the galleries, students and parents looked at works of art from the permanent collection, made insightful observations, and connected themes and ideas from the Artifact Investigation. We made sure to allow for time in the galleries for independent sketching and looking in order to allow each participant’s personal interest and curiosity to shine through.
At the end of a long day, the participants were finally able to get their hands busy and express their own creativity. Each participant created a 3-D Mandala using simple supplies such as paper, scissors, and tape. Participants thought carefully about colors, shapes, and symbols and created a beautiful range of structures.
I have to admit, when my kids first wanted to go to the Rubin and learn about Himalayan Art, I was apprehensive. I myself, was never into art. I am however, very interested in history.
Well, the presentation at the Rubin, blew me away. I could not believe how they were able to incorporate history, culture and art into one presentation, and in just a few hours. It was interesting, informative and entertaining. What I found quite unbelievable, was how much my kids and I retained in such a short period of time. I cannot remember ever being able to retain that much information in a classroom. There was definitely an advantage to learning and doing. The workshops really brought the history and art right into your hands, literally.
The instructors were great, and obviously well versed in the fields of not only the art, but in educating kids. They presented the material in a very appropriate matter for children, while maintaining the sophistication required to make the day fruitful from an educational perspective.
It was wonderful all around.