Mondays @ the Museum Behind-the-Scenes – Week 5: Through the lens of Performing Arts

Week 1 Intro to the Museum 

Week 2 Gallery/Topic Exploration: Reading ART

Week 3 Gallery/ Topic Exploration: looking through a Social Studies lens 

Week 4 Gallery/ Topic Exploration: looking through a S.T.E.M. lens 

Week 5 Gallery/ Topic Exploration: Experiencing with Performing Arts 

Week 6 Review and culmination exercises

MONDAY: October 12, 2020

My previous museum positions had me working hand in hand with the performance arts in the development of onsite presentations to supplement and amplify the art and themes presented in our permanent and changing exhibitions. One year we partnered with the Thelonious Monk Institute to create original jazz works to complement photographs from tribal Africa, while another year we hired period musicians to re-create the sounds of medieval feasts with presentations of sword play and jousting. Art is only 2 (or 3) dimensional without the performing arts, and we all know life has far more dimensions!

Just like in visual art such as paintings and sculptures, the stories of our emotions are sometimes too difficult to communicate with words. So we use things like music or gestures or dance. Sculptures and paintings are still moments in time. Music and Dance and Theater place those moments in context and play with the before and after stories to make us ponder.

Throughout the past weeks of our course, my students and I have been exploring the stories found in museums and how to find them. We can find stories by reading the art, asking questions, or even allowing mathematical patterns to guide our eyes. This week we approached the space of the museum through different lenses. We imagined what a dancer might look for or see when they enter a space or what a musician might hear or notice when looking at a painting.

Today we listened to a dancer share his story of how the art at the Met inspires his ballet and then we used all of the observational skills we’ve been developing over the past few weeks to break apart the music we saw in Kandinsky’s lithographs. We also made our own Kandinsky & music inspired works of art. Of course, all of ours, including mine, looked a bit more scribbly than artistic, but all good art must start somewhere!

So often visitors and museum professionals get caught up in the academics, the provenance or the value of the art, that we lose sight of the human intent. Providing access to the performing arts in the galleries and in-museum theaters can help re-create that sense of inspiration and connect us to the art viscerally. This weekend I watched Jack White on SNL and was deeply reminded of the fully visceral and yet out of body visual that live channeling of the muses looks like. That performance could be considered a museum celebrating the muse of music.

I will end this blog by sharing a link to an amazing group of educators who are known for their incredible teaching artist training in the Los Angeles area. The dancing and performing duo (and my former neighbors) from BluePalm have tapped exactly what we touched on in today’s class artistic perception and how to teach and experience it.

The arts, it has been said, cannot change the world, but they may change human beings who might change the world.

Maxine Green

#zerotohero #artseducation #museumeducation #museums #virtuallearning #mondaysatthemuseum #howtolookatart #fineart #stemeducation #steam #stemcareers #inquiry

Check out the website & purchase the course today!

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