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The Gibbes Museum of Art Reviving Art Education in Lowcountry

For Immediate Release: Newly renovated museum to serve as educational hub for students

CHARLESTON, S.C., February 17, 2016 – While art programs are often the first to be affected by school budget cuts, one organization is leading the charge to ensure art education is preserved and promoted in the Lowcountry. Reopening May 28 after extensive renovations, The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston believes that discovering, understanding and appreciating original works of art from cultures past and present is a vital part of a complete education. This mission is manifest year-round in both museum-based and in-school programs to revive art in schools. The newly renovated museum will allow the Gibbes to reach thousands of students year-round and facilitate more onsite educational opportunities.

“Decades of studies reveal that effective arts education promotes self-directed learning, sharpens critical thinking skills, develops self-awareness and improves school attendance,” said Rebecca Sailor, curator of education at the Gibbes. “Through these programs, the Gibbes provides a cultural experience by connecting artists and museum educators, the creative process and works of art to stimulate dialogue and innovation.”

One such program is called Junior Docents, in which middle school students from Ashley Hall, Charleston Day School and Charleston Collegiate are trained by museum educators to become docents. At the semester’s end, students present museum works through guided tours to younger students. “From public speaking to critical thinking, the Junior Docent program encompasses a range of necessary skills students will need to be successful,” said Andy Willits, middle school head at Charleston Day School. “The program offers an experiential form of learning, and the students develop a great sense of ownership. We are fortunate to have the opportunity of utilizing one of Charleston’s cultural icons, the Gibbes Museum of Art.” The museum plans to expand Junior Docents to additional public and private schools in the coming years.

Other art education programs led by the Gibbes Museum include:
Create a Map Kit: An interactive classroom experience combining geography, art, history, mapping skills and teamwork. Working in teams to create a 3-D map of South Carolina, students place materials from the kit onto a gridded cloth to define cities, rivers, state symbols and more.
Art to Go: Teaching Artists at the Gibbes work with schools and their art educators to aid with specific art projects to enhance an established curriculum.
Eye Spy: Museum educators work with elementary school students over the course of a year to enhance their understanding of art history and the elements of art using the Gibbes’ collection and other major works of art.
Art Access: Title I students in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties are invited to tour the museum at no cost.
Eye Opener: Museum educators connect with students and teachers in Engaging Creative Minds schools to develop and implement a learning vision using the visual arts to expand the classroom learning process.
Summer Art Camp: Summer Camp is taught by established, local teachers for ages 4–12 over six weekly sessions.
Studio Classes: Classes ranging from painting to drawing are offered for various ages by established, practicing artists.

For more information on the Gibbes Museum of Art, visit

Editor’s Note: For photos of the Gibbes education programs, click here.

About the Gibbes Museum of Art
Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905 in historic Charleston, S.C. The Gibbes houses one of the foremost collections of American Art from the 18th century to the present. After closing for an extensive nearly two-year renovation, the Gibbes will reopen its doors to the public on May 28, 2016.

Media Contact

Hannah Nuccio
Lou Hammond & Associates
[email protected]
(843) 410-5306


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