Art

Harwood art program helps sharpen minds of home-schooled kids

By Tamra Testerman
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 11/25/19
The Harwood Museum believes that all children should have access to arts regardless of income or background, according to Jayne Schnell, the museum educator.

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Art

Harwood art program helps sharpen minds of home-schooled kids

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The Harwood Museum believes that all children should have access to arts regardless of income or background, according to Jayne Schnell, the museum educator.

In keeping with that mission statement, the museum offers home-schooled children in Taos the same Art in Schools program as those in traditional educational settings at the Harwood's Fern Hogue Mitchell Education Center.

There are four sessions designed for children 4-12 years old, but all youth are welcome. Upcoming topics correspond to concurrent exhibitions and include "Dean Pulver: Elemental Resonance," "Long Environmentalism: Subhankar Banerjee," "Accordion Book Form" and "Bea Mandelman, Mixed-Media Collages." For more information about the programs offered or to sign up, contact Schnell at education@harwoodmuseum.org or call her (575) 758-9826, extension 108.

Tempo asked Schnell about some details of the program and why it is important.

When did the program begin, what is the history of the idea, who has been involved?

I would guess that the homeschool program began at about the time that we started our Art in the Schools program 13 years ago. Homeschool is the same program that we offer to school kids. In the beginning when we worked with fewer classes this was a monthly program, and now as we reach over 800 students in the Art in the Schools program we only offer four units during the school year These units integrate what is in the museum into the curriculum. Homeschool and each participating class visit the museum four times per year.

Why is parent participation mandatory?

This is a family program and all ages are welcome. Often infants are a part of the family units that attend. Just as in Art in the Schools, the teachers attend Art in the Schools with their classes. So, the museum visits are educational field trips.

How do kids thrive in the program?

Kids learn to be comfortable in the museum and to offer whatever they may to the conversations about the art - experiencing [how] the observer brings relevancy to the art or ... our own experiences to what we view… to make connections and to make the art relevant and meaningful. In the studio, students learn about the process of artists as they create their own art inspired by what was viewed in the museum. Students experience different art mediums and the care of art materials. When students attend year after year they grow artistically and in their comfort to express in words what they see and also to express visually in what they create.

Are there participants who come in families and return every year?

Oh, yes! Families grow and return year after year. This program continues to evolve and remain unique with the changing exhibitions in the museum and the explorations that the artistic education staff brings to the program. Over the years some homeschool families have moved on but remain friends in the community.

Why is this program important?

The museum believes that all children should have access to the arts regardless of income or background. Our goal is to make the Harwood collection and special exhibitions accessible to our entire community, young and old. We believe introducing children to art at an early age provides countless benefits, encourages positive risk-taking, builds links to our histories and cultures, while teaching visual literacy and creative problem-solving.

What is the cost?

The program is free, and it requires no registration. Meet us at the museum! The Harwood website harwoodmuseum.org calendar listing has the current dates for the homeschool program. Next up is: Monday (Dec. 2), March 30 and April 27 from 10 to 11:45 a.m. Contact me with questions at education@harwoodmuseum.org.

Anything else you think is important for our readers to know?

We have a lot of fun!!

The Harwood Museum is located at 238 Ledoux Street. Hours are Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Monday.

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