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About Us

Our Mission

Education Department mind map brainstorm, April 2009

Education Department mind map brainstorm, April 2009

At the heart of all Whitney Education programs is a focus on artists—their materials, methods, and inspirations. As educators, we create opportunities for visitors with different needs, experiences, and interests to make meaningful connections with the art on view. With the intrepid spirit of the artist in mind, we challenge ourselves and our audiences to think creatively, embrace new ideas, and consider American art and culture in all its complexity.

We want our audiences to:

Youth Insights students in the galleries

Youth Insights students in the galleries

  • Recognize that art can be open-ended, complex, and challenging.
  • Respond to new perspectives and ideas.
  • Be curious and think creatively.
  • Engage with art in playful and experimental ways.
  • Make meaningful connections with art and artists.
  • Learn about and reflect on the culture at large.

Our Values

In practice, our values effect action, shaping the Education Department’s daily work and decision-making. They also reflect what staff desire to instill among visitors and uphold in working with artists.

Engagement with Artists Past and Present
To connect with the art on view, we look to the artist and their ideas. Education collaborates with artists to create content and programs that reveal the creative process. By focusing on the voices, perspectives, materials, and intentions of artists, we lead visitors to a deeper understanding and appreciation of art, artists, and the role artists play in our culture.

Sustained Connections with Audiences
Education develops long-term relationships with our audiences in order to foster a deep understanding of and love for art and a personal connection with the Museum. By working with community partners and through extended programs, we aim to create a lasting impact in the lives of our participants.

Making Complexity Accessible
Education believes that the complexity of contemporary art necessitates varied interpretive approaches and customized programs in order to make art and artists accessible to audiences with different needs, interests, and experiences. We seek to create a space where visitors can learn, question, and make sense of the works on view. In a world where instant messages, sound bites, and standardized tests prevail, Education fosters open-ended thinking and acknowledges that there are no easy answers.

Experimentation and Reflection
We challenge ourselves to be creative and innovative in everything we do. With the intrepid spirit of the artist in mind, we test out new ideas and approaches, followed by a thorough practice of inquiry and reflection. It is through this cycle of experimentation that we design, implement, and evaluate our programs.