The educational benefits of the interaction between children and art in a gallery or museum setting has been well researched and defined. In our view, art fairs are just as purposeful and meaningful from a pedagogical perspective, and in similar ways. In fact, we believe education should be a foundational part of an art fair aimed at youth.
Several research-based approaches to art education encourage children and youth to interact with art in a gallery or museum setting. For example, Project MUSE, Project Zero, and The Feldman Method are some of the methods to assist students in art exploration; their use supports a more meaningful experience, along with a deeper understanding and appreciation of art. MUSE - developed using the Multiple Intelligences research by Howard Gartner - is the most widely embraced of theses approaches.
Using the MUSE framework, students explore a piece of art through specific points of entry or modalities. They may interpret an artwork through dance or movement, or through an auditory entry point. For example, indigenous and Japanese rattles were distributed to children as part of their visit to a collaborative multicultural exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery last year, and the impact was visceral.
But does the art fair experience differ from the art gallery or museum experience? And can art fairs be purposefully educational?
While art fairs are fun, free flowing events, they can also support educational curriculum. Drawing on existing pedagogical research, the Art Ignites education team has developed several research-based activities along with an interactive resource guide for use by teachers accompanying their students to the Vancouver Art Fair.
Some examples of activities from the resource guide include:
Map It! Using the blank map of the world provided, mark the countries of the world where the artists you spoke to at the fair are from.
Analyze and Critique It! What does the theme “Uniting Nations Through Art” mean to you? Do you think the art fair has accomplished its goal? Why or why not? In what ways does art unite nations and cultures? Why is this important?
Blog It! Write about your experience at the art fair in no more than 200 words. Send it to the Art Ignites team and we will submit it for publication in the Art Vancouver newsletter. Make sure to illustrate with lots of photos.
Record It! For the visual and auditory learner, video the highlights of the fair and edit into a 10-15 second commercial. Submit it to the Art Ignites team and we’ll post it YouTube! Students will also listen to a panel of working artists, paint on site with Paintillio, and watch live performance art set to music. All these activities guide students to engage with art mindfully.
At Art Ignites, we believe students and teachers will have a fun, engaging and educationally worthwhile experience immersed in art. We hope to see you there!
Diana Mogensen is a teacher, VAG docent, and founder of Art Ignites
Art Ignites is a youth-centred art fair experience operating under the umbrella of Art Vancouver. Art ignites runs on April 26 from 1 PM to 5 PM under the sail at Canada Place.
For more information contact: Arteducators@artVancouver.net