Teaching with Contemporary Art

Join Us

Ai Weiwei, "Sunflower Seeds", 2010 installation view. Image: dezeen.com

In just a few months there’s going to be a lot happening here at Art21…. Even more than usual.

On April 13th, we kick off season 6 of Art in the Twenty-First Century on PBS with the Change episode featuring Ai Weiwei, El Anatsui and Catherine Opie. That alone has us smiling.

But fast-forward to July and we also get to launch year four of Art21 Educators. If you know a little bit about the Art21 Educators program but would like more details, read on!

Art21 Educators is an intensive, year long professional development initiative designed to support K-12 visual arts, language arts, humanities, social studies, and media arts teachers who are interested in bringing contemporary art, artists, and themes into their classroom. The program serves to help teachers broaden their curricular focus to include inquiry into contemporary issues and questions that demand cross-curricular knowledge.

Our fourth year begins in early July with the Summer Institute here in New York City. For that first week participants work with Art21 staff, visiting artists, and guest presenters to develop their familiarity with contemporary art and artists, as well as learn strategies for planning and teaching with big questions and an interdisciplinary focus. Accepted educators explore ways to use Art21 films and educational materials in the classroom, consider new documentation strategies and participate in collaborative reflection.

All participants (that’s right- everyone) receive a complete set of Art in the Twenty-First Century DVDs, related Educators’ Guides, Companion Books, a video camera, and an introduction to a variety of online media resources and strategies for teaching with contemporary art. Participants design and develop curriculum related to their own classrooms, watch and talk about films, visit museums and galleries, and get to talk with artists and other educators. Teachers return to their classrooms with a unique unit of study that they have designed to teach during the school year, as well as lesson ideas and resources generated by fellow participants.

Sessions this summer will include:

  • Contemporary Art in Contemporary Classrooms
  • Exploring Contemporary Questions
  • Interdisciplinary Perspectives and Contemporary Art
  • Curating the Classroom
  • Interdisciplinary, Thematic, and Postmodern Practices in the Classroom
  • Technology tutorials
  • Studio visits and guest presenters

For application information, stay tuned to art21.org for details in the coming weeks. And for an inside scoop on what the Art21 Educators program is like, check out the Teaching with Contemporary Art column next week when I will interview two of our current educators, Maureen Hergott and Julia CopperSmith.

See you then.