Working with Students

Gotham students visit the Whitney with their teachers for guided or self-guided visits, and participate in multi-part programs. All guided visits and multi-part programs are planned collaboratively with the teachers. This often includes a pre-program, in-person planning meeting and a post-program evaluation conversation with the Museum educator.


students sitting at table listening to artist at head

Biennial artist Nina Berman with a group of Gotham students, 2010. Photograph by Liz Gillroy.

Fighting Words

Fighting Words was a social studies class that examined the nature of war and the human experiences during wartime. For this three-part program, the Museum educator asked students to consider how the trauma of war continued to impact the lives of soldiers, even after their return home. The highlight of the program was the extended Museum visit on April 28, 2010, where the students met with Biennial artist Nina Berman and saw her work firsthand. The artist discussed her commitment to documenting soldiers’ lives after leaving the battlefield.

Read more

  • Students discussing how race and culture influence who they are, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow.

  • Biennial artist Theaster Gates showing his work to students during extended Museum visit, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow.

  • Biennial artist Theaster Gates continuing discussion on Cosmology of Yard with students, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow.

  • Students brainstorming ideas for transforming neighborhood around school, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow.

  • Students mapping out areas they propose to transform around the school, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow.

  • Students submitting their final proposals for neighborhood transformation at the end of the three-part program, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow.

Structure and Freedom II

How do culture and race influence who you are? Are you free to choose, or has your life already been structured for you? These were some questions students debated in their English Literature class. Students read texts by Sherman Alexie, a contemporary Native American author, and worked with Biennial artist Theaster Gates. This three-part program, led by Gates and a Museum educator, challenged students to re-conceptualize their Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood as spaces of convergence through community get-togethers and happenings.

  • "Untitled" by Jonathan, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

  • "Planted Firm" by Shaniece, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

  • "Two Faces" by Ansil, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

  • "Accept Me, Flaws and All" by Kerona, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

  • "My Place in the Library" by Corrine, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

  • "Behind the Pane" by Charmaine, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

  • Untitled by Michael, 2010. Photograph by Ai Wee Seow

Botany I

In Botany I, students examined the idea of identity and environment in plants. This unit of study became a cross-disciplinary three-part program focused on the essential question, "Is identity fluid?" During the extended Museum visit, students explored the exhibition, Roni Horn aka Roni Horn and discussed issues of gender, identity, and androgyny in Horn's works. Inspired by Horn's You are the Weather series (1994-1995), students took photographs of themselves interacting with various environments and considered how their surroundings defined or changed their identity.


Language, Literacy and Media

In this English as Second Language (ESL) class, students used works of art in the Whitney's collection as a starting point for discussion and writing. The objectives for this multi-part program were to improve students’ reading comprehension and writing skills, and encourage dialogue among peers.

Text in Textibility

Student's poetic response to Joseph Stella's The Brooklyn Bridge: Variation on an Old Theme, 1939. Photograph by Melanie Adsit.

In this Social Studies class, students examined the role of media and its impact on their lives. The Museum educator built upon classroom learning by asking students to consider the role of art and artists in today's world.

Mod Shorts

A Whitney educator having a discussion with a student in the gallery, 2008. Photograph by Heather Maxson.

Students in this Literature class studied modern short stories by American authors. Students made connections between the art on view at the Whitney and the short stories they were reading in the classroom, which explored similar social, political, and cultural issues.

Printmaking I

Students examining a work in the gallery, 2008. Photograph by Heather Maxson.

Students in this class participated in a three-part program that included a guided visit of the 2008 Whitney Biennial exhibition. By looking closely at three to five works on view in the galleries, students examined the concepts of appropriated text and repeated imagery. The final project required them to create transfer prints using appropriated text and images from print media.