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Montgomery Museum of Fine Art

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Month: March 2017

Spring is in Full Swing at the MMFA

April is a season of renewal and growth.  Here at the MMFA, we  encourage you to visit the natural beauty of the Blount Cultural Park, stroll the Museum’s galleries, or participate in the many events we have scheduled throughout the month. Here is a sampling of the many activities designed for visitors of all ages.

First Sundays

Sunday, April 2, at 1 P.M.

Learn about works of art on view in the Museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions. This FREE one-hour docent-led tour introduces some of the most important works in our collection. For more information call 334.240.4365. 

 

The Art of Baking Puppet Show

Thursday and Friday, April 6 and 7

This fun and educational event designed for three to six-year olds will be offered FREE at 9:30 and 10:45 A.M. on both days. Children will learn from charming animals working in a bakery on stage that “art is everywhere.”

 

Ekphrasis: Loving Frank: A Novel by Nancy Horan

Wednesday, April 12, 12 noon

Ekphrasis is a monthly book club devoted to the history of art. Works of fiction and non-fiction are featured, covering periods ranging from the ancient world to the present. See our website listing for more information, and  be sure to check out the delicious catered lunches by Jennie Weller Catering and Events which can be reserved with a call to the education department.

 

Stained Glass Workshop

Thursday, April 6, 13, 20, and 27, from 6 to 8 P.M.

For beginners as well as those with prior experience working with glass, this course  teaches all the steps in creating a stained glass window.

 

 

Short Course

Tuesdays at 12 noon, April 18, 25, and May 2

Enjoy this series of Tuesday noon gallery talks led by the Museum’s Curators giving more insight into our temporary exhibitions.

Film at the Museum: Girl With a Pearl Earring

Thursday, April 20, 5:30 P.M.

Have you ever imagined Vermeer’s studio, or how he created such strikingly quiet images in the midst of a busy household? Tracey Chevalier depicts Vermeer’s daily life in her novel, The Girl With a Pearl Earring, in which she imagines how Vermeer’s famous painting came to be.

 

 

 

Family Art Affair and Jazz Jams

Sunday, April 23, 2 P.M.

Let the music move you as you create artwork to take home! Each date has a specific theme related to Museum exhibitions, so bring the whole family for these FREE Sunday outings every month!

 

MAG Museum Exhibition Juror’s Critique

Saturday, April 29, 10:00 A.M.

Hear from juror Jim Neel about the varied expressions by local artists on view in the 42nd Montgomery Art Guild Museum Exhibition.

 

 

An Afternoon With Mary Lynne Levy

Sunday, April 30, 2 P.M.

Along with her many other civic contributions, Montgomery Art Guild  Featured Artist Mary Lynne Levy has long been active in Montgomery as an artist and supporter of the arts.

Teaching with Objects: Connecting Core Subjects to Works of Art!

Not too long ago at MMFA, an American history teacher had each of his students write about an era of our nation’s past as represented in a work of art in the Museum’s collection. Each year countless students of all ages write about works of art on view. Earlier this week on Pi day, a group studied connections between math and architecture and works of art. We invite all teachers to reflect on how our collection can enrich their classroom goals.

Schools and educational institutions all over the country are working to follow both the Common Core Standards set at the national level and their respective state standards in an engaging way that will lead to student success.   These efforts of teachers go hand in hand with the goals of Museums – to develop programming for students that not only meets, but exceeds these standards inviting students to connect to a larger world, the fabric of history, and many perspectives at the art Museum. The Museum hopes more teachers will take the opportunity to use paintings as texts in all of their core subjects. One of my primary goals as a Museum Educator is to support teachers by ensuring that our programming is aligned with the standards the state of Alabama is currently using.

For those not familiar with Common Core State Standards they rely heavily on non-fiction texts and primary sources to teach reading and comprehension skills. While creative writing is beyond the scope of the standards, the core focus on primary sources such as newspapers, journals, and formal documents fit easily with history museum programming. You may wonder how art museums fit in? As an art museum educator I use artworks in two ways that coincide with CCSS. One is a more obvious way and the second is maybe not so apparent.

The CCSS emphasize skills such as deductive reasoning, context clues, and inferences. The visual arts are great for honing all of these skills. Our docents here at the MMFA are trained to guide students through a discussion that gets them to really look at an artwork and derive meaning from what they see. By allowing students to take time to observe and find their own meaning, this encourages further exploration and naturally creates opportunities to solidify comprehension skills such as those mentioned above. Taking this idea one step further is using visual works of art as primary sources such as in the history class mentioned earlier.

Primary sources are by definition artifacts that were created during the time period being studied, whether the source is a document, diary, recording, or an artwork. Take for instance the painting by John Kelly Fitzpatrick called Saturday Morning. Created in 1935, it depicts a ‘snapshot’ of life in a small Alabama town. The artist, we know, was hired to paint regional scenes by the Works Progress Administration, during the Great Depression. Armed with that bit of knowledge we can infer that the artist was most likely painting from his own experience of being in this particular small town and recording what he saw. Now, while the artist may have taken liberties with color and composition we can still derive useful historical and contextual information from this painting by looking at it more closely, for example the juxtaposition of the automobile and smokestack with a mule and cotton cart. Similarly, one can have the same kind of conversation with a portrait. Inferences can be made about the time period by exploring the objects included in the painting as well as clothing, accessories and background features. The sitter’s wealth and fashionable taste is being celebrated in clothing, jewelry, and surroundings in the belle époque portrait Mrs. Louis E. Raphael by John Singer Sargent.

While our educational landscape continues to evolve, museums will continue to engage students in worthwhile programming that will help with skills of comprehension, observation, and critical thinking using myriad connections to all core subjects. As museum educators we strive to create experiences and resources that enrich the lessons in the classroom. The MMFA will continuously adapt our programming to meet the needs of the students to ensure they are given the tools to make connections between what they are learning in the classroom and what they see in our galleries.

Kaci Norman
Assistant Curator of Education
Youth, Family, and Studio Programs

 

Credit Information:

Figure 2: John Kelly Fitzpatrick (American, 1888–1953), Saturday Morning, 1935, oil on masonite, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Gift of Works Progress Administration, 1935.7

Figure 3: John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925), Mrs. Louis E. Raphael (Henriette Goldschmidt), ca. 1906, oil on canvas, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, The Blount Collection, 1989.2.3

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