The Edmond de Rothschild Foundations

Musée Salomon R. Guggenheim New York - Learning Through Art

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, a long-time committed partner of the Foundations in promoting education through art.

One of the most significant icons of the 20th century, the Guggenheim Museum is at once a vital cultural center, an educational institution, and the heart of an international network of museums.

As early as 1970, the Salomon R. Guggenheim Museum was aware that reduced arts education would have drastic effects on the youth. In response, the Museum began school-based initiative, Learning Through Art (LTA), to place artist in residency in some of the city’s most underserved schools. LTA artists collaborate with classroom teachers over the course of 20 weeks to provide students in grades two through six high-quality, deep learning experiences that these youth would otherwise have limited or no access to.

Learning Through Art is structured to provide in-depth instruction to achieve a set of specific objectives:

  • Students will be able to understand and engage in art making as a sustained, experimental, and exploratory process.
  • students will be able to use selected art material in an expressive way.
  • students will be able to understand the connections between arts, important ideas related to the curriculum, and their own lives and ideas.
  • students will develop the confidence to respond to artistic challenges, make artistic choices, and share ideas and opinions.
  • students will be able to respond to works of art by observing, analyzing, and forming new and personally meaningful ideas.
  • students will feel comfortable in and forge a personal connection to the Guggenheim Museum.

To maximize valuable classroom learning time, LTA curriculum is carefully tailored to correlate with subject areas while involving students in the creation and study of art and encouraging the development of key 21st century skills that will serve youth well beyond their academic careers.

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LTA partner schools host two residencies, and each week the artist in residency works for 90 minutes with at least three separate classrooms. The residencies are conducted at the same grade level each year to ensure that all students at the school have the opportunity to participate as they matriculate to the grade being served.

LTA assistants – dedicated volunteers studying arts educations in college or graduate school – provide vital support to the teaching artists, assisting with arts projects, preparing and cleaning up materials, answering student questions, and proving one-on-one guidance to children or other aid as needed. Classroom teachers also take an active role in LTA lessons, promoting student comfort and engagement with the program.

The weekly LTA sessions are structured to allow students to engage in a range of learning activities that include:

  • Observation and discussion about a key artwork or artist related to the Museum that helps to anchor the lesson;
  • demonstration of particular artistic medium, such as collage, painting, or sculpture;
  • work time, during which the students create their own artwork; and
  • reflection, which occurs either during the lessor to explore any challenges or discoveries about the artistic mediums, or following the lesson, with a focus on students’ creative processes and their finished works of art.

As they guide students throughout the year, teaching artists use an inquiry-based method of instruction asking open-ended questions and promoting the understanding that there are no “right” or “wrong” answer about art. Additional projects helps students explore other topics being addressed during the school year, and all projects invite experimentation with a broad range of artistic mediums and techniques.

In May of each year, the Guggenheim presents A Year with Children, an exhibition of approximately 100 LTA student works of art created during the school year. This is a very exciting opportunity for youth to see their artwork on display in the Museum.