After five years of working in museum education, I am happy to say that I can still be surprised and delighted by school groups. Recently, we had a wonderful group of 8th graders from Neal Middle School visit the Nasher Museum. The students were here to take our Persuasive Visions tour, which allowed the students to explore how artists construct meaning and create persuasive messages in a variety of media. Students engaged with all exhibitions on display, but the focus of the tour was on the multi-media collage and installation art of Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey.
The students were so engaged with their guides and discussing the artwork that no one noticed the time fly by. Before he knew it, Nasher Museum Gallery Guide and former teacher, Richard Hill, discovered that they had spent the entire time slotted for the program just discussing the works of art, and not getting to the hands-on collaging activity slated as part of the tour. As it turns out, the students had already done some very impressive Mutu-inspired collaging in the classroom while preparing for their visit to the exhibition… and it was on display at Northgate Mall.
The exhibition at Northgate was a culmination of Neal Middle School art teacher Joanna Ali’s preparation of her students for their visit to the Nasher Museum. Ms. Ali, who attended our teacher workshop on the exhibition back in March, spent valuable class time preparing her students for what they were going to see. By teaching them about Wangechi and her artistic techniques, the students were able to create their own impressive and creative works of art; consequently they came to the museum extremely knowledgeable and prepared for their tour. Although Neal Middle School’s artwork is no longer on exhibit at the mall, you can see plenty of other works of art by area elementary school students currently on display.
We enjoy the insights and comments from all of the school groups that visit the Nasher Museum on field trips. There is something truly special about students who clearly have a passion and respect for art and want to talk about it. We congratulate Joanna Ali and her students on their impressive exhibition and the outstanding tour they allowed us to have here at the Nasher Museum.