Farnsworth Prof Dev Opp

September 4, 2015

Five years old

photo2The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland has collaborated with the Lincoln Center Education (LCE) program for the past six summers to provide an extensive aesthetic workshop. This summer’s workshop took place July 27-30 in Rockland, and included 17 Maine arts and non-arts educators. The workshop used an arts-integrated, inquiry-based approach to teaching that helps students develop skills of imagination, creativity, and innovation.

Participants developed a learning community through an experiential and inquiry based immersion in LCE’s aesthetic education philosophy and practices. The work is guided by four core teaching concepts and the Capacities for Imaginative Thinking. The teachers learned about LCE’s aesthetic education planning process which includes key ideas, line of inquiry, and the development of an aesthetic education lesson.

photoThe overarching question for the workshop was: How can engagements with live works of art, through LCE’s aesthetic education approach, offer new possibilities for imaginative teaching and learning across content areas? LCE’s educator Tenesh Webber joined with Farnsworth educator Denise Mitchell to facilitate.

I was glad that I had the opportunity to visit during one day of the workshop and see the program in action! The teachers, working in groups of four, were engaged in conversation after ‘deep looking’ at artwork. Some of the teacher reflections on the value of re-visiting works of art included the following:

  • Being able to stand in a different place and really look provided me with a different perspective.
  • While looking at Louise Nevelson’s whimsical artwork I wish she had done more of that type of work and wish that I could have seen her working down the street in Rockland.
  • Returning to the artwork for another look makes me realize, why wouldn’t we do this with students?, to look and see artwork again and spend time in front of works of art from the past.

photo3During my visit the Education Director, Roger Dell stopped by and addressed the group with the following: “Being willing to look at objects from the past, tell us something about the past”. He had read in a newspaper article last winter that was written by an art historian on the topic, the art of looking. “The art of looking is the only art that is in danger of being lost”.

The workshop continuously models good teaching practices by the facilitators and teachers and creates relevance for each teacher attending.

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