Marginalized students accessing museum art education programs
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For many years as an art educator, this researcher, has observed, the positive impact an art education program can have on a variety of different student populations. All students deserve access to a meaningful art education. It has been shown that developing brain health and looking at art is beneficial for the human mind. Scientists in collaboration with artists have recently shown, through Computed Axial Tomography (CAT scans) something that we already knew (or suspected), from our own experiences; making and looking at art is positive for human cognition. According to Professor Semir Zeki, Chair of the Neurasthenics Department at University College London: (1999, p.187). Inner Vision: An exploration of art and the brain: "What we found is when you look at art – whether it is a landscape, a still life, an abstract or a portrait – there is strong activity in that part of the brain related to pleasure. We put people in a scanner and showed them a series of paintings every ten seconds. We then measured the change in blood flow in one part of the brain. The reaction was immediate. What we found was the increase in blood flow was in proportion to how much the painting was liked. The blood flow increased for a beautiful painting just as it increases when you look at somebody you love. It tells us art induces a feel-good sensation direct to the brain." This thesis will not be examining the positive impact art has on the brain; it is referred to in order to acknowledge the fact many artists and art appreciators already know: Looking at art is a valuable thing, and art education is important for developing minds. This thesis will examine the bridge between art museum programs and marginalized student populations. These are the students who have Individualized Education Programs (IEP’s), or those for whom English is a second language and who may live in low-income urban communities. It will also examine what museum-based art education programs can provide to this population of youth. In the Wall Street Journal, as cited by (Winner, Goldstein, and Vincent-Lancrin, 2013, p.18) the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Rocco Landesman offers pointed remarks when arts education comes up: "Some students don’t fit the No Child Left Behind regime and other subjects don’t inspire them. Talented but offbeat, they sulk through algebra, act up in the cafeteria, and drop out of school. The arts 'catch' them and pull them back, turning a sinking ego on the margins into a creative citizen with 'a place in society.'" Museums often provide a place for students to go and engage with art in a meaningful way that captures their imagination and engages them in learning. The emphasis of this research falls on the unusual student, the difficult learner, the student who has a learning style difference and who may never have encountered an original work of art. The purpose of this study is to report the ways in which students responded to art in a museum setting. Why art museums enjoy a reciprocal benefit from serving these students will also be examined. Art educators know that art is important for the development of creativity in students, and students’ benefit from engagement in studio art activities. Yet, most crucially, art programs are often marginalized in low-income urban communities. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, more than 95 percent of schoolaged children are attending schools that have cut art education since the recession. In low-income communities, many students have few studio art classes along their journeys through pre/K-12 public education. Those denied an art education often find themselves without the benefit of an education that includes studies about the value of culture, leaving those affected by poverty with little impetus to reach for higher educational goals. Art education programs at two museums are examined to show how their programs reach out to students from underserved communities. In particular, this study looks at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester and Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, both in, Massachusetts, to evaluate how to engage marginalized, urban students and retain these youth as enthusiastic lifetime museumgoers.
Thesis (M.A.) PLEASE NOTE: Boston University Libraries did not receive an Authorization To Manage form for this thesis or dissertation. It is therefore not openly accessible, though it may be available by request. If you are the author or principal advisor of this work and would like to request open access for it, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.