This week, September 13-19, is National Arts in Education Week. The Museum, particularly our Education Department, works with schools, parks, and churches to take art into our communities and also invites students into the Museum, with free admission every day. Art in school curricula is crucial in establishing many life-long skills, like creativity, teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, confidence, and more.
One of the many ways the Museum works with schools was illustrated perfectly this week, as the Irondale Community School held its first meeting of the new Birmingham Museum of Art Club. Associate Curator of Education Suzy Harris says, “Irondale Community School’s Principal Chuck Yeager is very forward thinking. He believes that life experiences can teach many valuable lessons that textbooks cannot, so he has reached out to community partners to establish clubs at the school.” The Birmingham Museum of Art Club had 13 members at the first meeting, where Harris and Stacia Jacks, the Visual Arts supervisor at Jefferson County School System, will teach students at the school about art.
“We visit the school with our culture cases, which are filled with materials to help students explore and experience world cultures in a hands-on way. Each case includes touchable objects, images, books, music, and lesson plans to bring these cultures to life,” explains Harris. After meeting at the school, the Club hopes to then bring students to the Museum to explore the art of the world even more together.
In the first BMA Club meeting, students were inspired by a local artist, Birmingham native Lonnie Holley. The students learned about the artist and then created wire sculptures based on his work. “They were a lovely group of students,” says Jacks. “They were kind, creative, and enthusiastic, and we can’t wait for our meeting next month – we are bringing paint!”