Students take over the Gibbes
This holiday season, we are amazed at the number of school groups coming through the Gibbes to learn from works in the permanent collection as well as the big draw: Realm of the Spirit: Solomon R. Guggenheim Collection and the Gibbes Museum of Art. From November 29 until the end of the Guggenheim exhibit on January 15, 2017 we are expecting almost 1,000 students, a staggering number considering the Museum is closed on Mondays and tri-county schools are closed for two weeks during their Winter Break.
These students range from age 4 through high school seniors and represent many different parts of our community. Many of these students are from Title I schools and their admission is covered by our Art Access program and a grant from the Town of Kiawah to pay admission (and transportation) for Johns Island students.
While most of these groups are drawn by the allure of early 20th century non-objective art on view in our galleries, they are also excited to expose students to the newly-renovated Gibbes. Tour themes include Charleston history, portraits, storytelling in art, the art “isms”, and math-infused STEAM. Those students lucky enough to come during open studio hours for our Visiting Artist Alex Pate get a chance to meet him and see an artist at work.
The renovations brought back classroom space on the first floor of the Museum, and those rooms are getting a workout. Most of these tours include a studio activity to reflect and reinforces themes covered in the galleries. Students on the “Face Time” portrait tour have had fun creating character flip books.
Others on the “Our Charleston” tour create a spiral poem that embodies words associated with Charleston and the design aesthetics of Mary Jackson’s baskets.
Some activities inspired by works on loan from the Guggenheim Museum have produced beautiful mash-ups of geometry and Charleston history.
We could not survive this round of tours, or any school year, without our dedicated team of Museum Educators. We are grateful for everything they do!
—Becca Hiester, curatorial assistant, Gibbes Museum of Art
Top image: Cane Bay Elementary third-graders react to a Kandinsky painting on view in Realm of the Spirit.
Published December 1, 2016