On Tuesday, October 4, the Farnsworth Art Museum launched a collaborative, school/museum art project titled Stories of the Land and Its People: An Arts-Integrated School Initiative for Midcoast Maine. Over the academic year, the Farnsworth will work closely with the Hope, Appleton, Lincolnville and Islesboro schools to bring more art experiences into fourth and seventh-grade classrooms, as well as trips to the museum for guided tours. The October 4 kickoff event brought over 200 students, teachers and administrators to the Farnsworth and downtown Rockland for a series of exploratory exercises, involving observing, journaling, and art making.
Stories will run throughout the academic year, with students learning from their teachers, museum professionals, and mentor artists how to use the arts - particularly digital photography and video - in their studies of English Language Arts, History and Social Sciences and other disciplines. The students will make their learning visible to the community in a multimedia, interdisciplinary, collaborative exhibition in the Farnsworth’s Julia’s Gallery for Young Artists on June 8, 2012. In the fall of 2012 the exhibition will travel to the participating schools. Throughout the project, middle and high school students in the Julia’s Gallery Program will film a documentary video about how the teachers are employing the arts to support the Common Core required by the state. As with two earlier video projects, Maine Media Workshops is generously loaning the Farnsworth cameras, lights, and other important equipment. The documentary will be premiered in summer 2012.
The Farnsworth will act as the hub of the collaboration, providing expertise in the arts and arts education, use of the museum for tours, professional development for teachers, the management of grants, and a project coordinator, Andrea Curtis (MA, Arts in Education Program, Harvard Graduate School of Education). The Farnsworth has received many generous grants and help from donors for Stories, including support from the Arthur K. Watson Charitable Trust, Cabot Family Charitable Trust, NLT Foundation, Bangor Savings Bank Foundation, Maine Arts Commission SMART Grants, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Joyce Tenneson, Peter and Barbara McSpadden, Robert Campbell and others.
Julia’s Gallery is part of the Education Program of the Farnsworth and is an award-winning, after school arts program that supports and sustains a creative community of teens who produce, display and celebrate the visual arts in midcoast Maine. Founded in 2001, the mission of Julia’s Gallery is to recruit, train, advise and provide space for students, middle through high school, who wish to explore the meanings of art in their lives and who are committed to a multiyear, sequential, critical and creative program. For more information about Julia’s Gallery, please contact the Education Department at 207-596-0949.