By: Ardina Marie Greco
Published: 05/18/2016
Uploaded: 06/05/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2016 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: art, Artist, children, Education, museum, Teen

Description/Abstract: This study investigated the nature and educational promise of five children's museum education programs that included the participation of exhibiting artists; that is, of artists whose work was on exhibit at the museum in which the programs took place. To address this, the research focused on the ways exhibiting artists interacted with children and the children's responses to these interactions. The study also examined the overall structure of the five programs, as well as the roles of the professionals involved. This included an analysis of how museum education staff and schoolteachers supported children's experiences with the exhibiting artists.

The research was conducted through a basic interpretive qualitative multi-case study. This methodology was suitable because the study aimed to understand five cases and all of their uniqueness, including details related to the context, participants, and events occurring there. Data collection methods included the compilation of program documents, observations of program sessions, and interviews with the educators and artists involved in the planning and implementation of the programs.

The findings illuminate how the involvement of exhibiting artists in the programs studied helped to humanize children experiences with artworks. Specifically, human-to-human contact with artists provided students opportunities to watch artists at work, hear artists tell personal stories, and engage in acts of co-creation. When artists performed demonstrations, students witnessed the process that resulted in the artwork. When artists shared stories, students connected with the artists human experience that informed the artwork. Finally, when artists invited students into acts of co-creation, students became part of the process of creation. The cases also offer various examples of how educators might bring in their expertise to either augment or aid the exhibiting artists pedagogy. Additionally, the findings highlight a variety of structures across the programs studied. Each format served specific audiences in particular ways; no one approach was better than another.

While the findings of this research are specific to the cases studied and therefore not generalizable, they nevertheless provide insight to artists, museum educators, and arts educators who work in collaborative teaching contexts and who aim to include the presence of artists in their teaching.