In addition to working with students and staff, this partnership also involved the families of West Side Collaborative (WSC) students.
Parent Night was a little different this year. We wanted families and friends to spend time more time in the galleries looking closely at art and having discussions with each other, so we enlisted the help of a small group of twenty students who were enthusiastic about art and eager to be “teachers” at the Museum.
Working closely with a WSC teacher and a Museum educator, students undertook a seven-week training program. They began by researching about specific works that they were particularly drawn to in the exhibitions Singular Visions and the Whitney Biennial 2012. They memorized information about the art and artist they wanted to share with their familiies and friends, and generated open-ended questions that encouraged conversation and discussion.
Many families, friends and teachers who came for this event spent more than an hour in the galleries before heading down to the Whitney Studio for light refreshments. At the end of the evening, the principal declared that it was the most successful Parent Night yet!
Given the success of last year’s student exhibition and parent night, we were excited to host another celebratory event for the students, parents and family members of WSC. This time, students had the opportunity to showcase artworks and share short stories. Students’ art and writing were inspired by works in the exhibition Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time.
Despite the cold weather in late December, more than 180 parents and family members came to this event. They remained enthusiastic about the partnership between the Museum and the school, and excited by the array of learning opportunities this collaboration continued to provide for their children.
To celebrate our successful collaboration for the Teach with O’Keeffe project, we held an exhibition on the second floor of the annex building at the Whitney, displaying students’ work inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe. According to the WSC Parent Coordinator, more than two hundred parents and family members attended this event, which was an unprecedented turnout for any school function! For many of them, this was their first time visiting an art museum.
After viewing their own works, students led their parents and family members into the galleries for a guided tour of the exhibition, Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction.