Family Night at the Whitney

posted Jan 28, 2014, 10:47 AM by Suzannah Ohring   [ updated Jan 28, 2014, 10:48 AM ]

Community and culture were celebrated by an enthusiastic crowd of middle school students and their families at the Whitney Museum of American Art last Friday night.  There, West Side Collaborative students became both docents guiding their families through museum exhibitions, as well as exhibiting artists with their own works of art on display.  Thank you to the over 150 visitors in attendance.

Seventh grader were stationed as docents throughout the exhibitions American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe; T. J. Wilcox: In the Air; and Edward Steichen in the 1920s and 1930s: A recent Aquisition.  Students had pre-selected pieces of art to discuss, offering a history of the artist and an in-depth analysis of the artwork.  In the Whitney Studio, guests were able to view artwork created by sixth and seventh grade students.  They included word sculptures based on the artwork of Robert Indiana, art inspired by Edward Hopper focusing on “sense of place,” and self-portraiture.

The Whitney’s website describes West Side Collaborative as a middle school that challenges students to develop their innate curiosity and channel the energy of youth into the excitement of discovery.  In this spirit, the school and museum have partnered for the last five years to develop innovative teaching practices centered on inquiry-based instruction and explore various approaches to arts integration.  The collaboration originated in 2009 with a pilot program, Teach with O’Keeffe, and continues to grow.  The encourage families to take advantage of the rich and vibrant cultural resources available to them as residents of New York City.