Art is a valuable tool for discovering, exploring and interpreting reality. Investing in children’s art programs not only exposes the students to the benefits of the arts, they help these children succeed in all school subjects and in life.
“Learning Through Art” (LTA) at the Guggenheim Museum is an art program for children that challenges students to think critically about art and ideas. Participating students examine, discuss, and create works of art. Groups of students are also taken to the Guggenheim Museum to view and discuss the exhibitions.
LTA was founded in 1970 by Natalie K. Lieberman, a patron of the arts, in response to the elimination of art and music programs from New York City public schools. She merged the program with the Guggenheim Foundation in 1994. Since its inception, LTA has served over 100,000 students from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds in all five boroughs of New York City.
The LTA program sends experienced teaching artists into New York City public schools where they spend one day a week over a 10- or 20-week period. These artists help the students and teachers learn how to create process-oriented art projects. Collaboration methods between the artists and teachers are fully integrated in order to expand learning across the entire school curriculum.
Important programs like LTA eliminate the barriers between academic subjects and the arts and show children how to experience the world using a wide range of creative and innovative methods for self-expression.
Study Proves How Children Benefit from LTA
In 2003, LTA was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to examine the impact of the Learning Through Art program, on 500 students in the third grade from four schools in New York City. The study focused on the students’ ability to describe and interpret art, and to apply these skills to understanding written text. The study was conducted in partnership with Randi Korn and Associates from 2003–06. The primary question that guided this study was: Does looking at and making art teach students how to be better critical thinkers?
Professional evaluators examined student scores on the New York Citywide ELA test. The study found that LTA helps students become better learners and thinkers, and findings indicate that those who participated in the program performed better in all six categories of the following literacy and critical-thinking skills: extended focus; hypothesizing; providing multiple interpretations; schema-building; giving evidence; and thorough description.
A Year With Children Exhibition
Every year the residency culminates with an exhibition of selected student works at the Guggenheim Museum. Through these exhibitions the children are able to learn how to appreciate their own talent as well as the work of their fellow students.
“A Year with Children 2015” takes place May 1–June 17, 2015 and will feature 125 works of art created by students from ten elementary schools in each of the city’s five boroughs.
Learning Through Art
A Book For Children
The book Learning Through Art, written by Marilyn J.S. Goodman including art from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, offers children a way to learn about art and apply it to explore basic subject areas such as math, science, sports, music and social studies.
The book is also a valuable resource for teachers.by