Taking in the Art: TCSS students visit art museum

Published 9:43 pm Friday, June 15, 2018

Kindergarten through fifth grade students from Troup County Schools wandered through the LaGrange Art Museum on Thursday discussing the art and creating some of their own.

The museum’s current exhibit, “Take Your Time,” appeared to be perfectly timed for the close to 300 students participating in the summer school program this year.

“We’ve been working on slowing down and actually analyzing what they see,” said PJ Daniel, a teacher from East Coweta High School volunteering at LAM. “We talk about what colors they see, what objects, how it makes them feel. It is just going through and investigating and looking at it. It gets them to use their words.”

She said that process is important for students both at school and in museums.

“It helps them in the long run to realize that they can do that with pieces,” Daniel said. “For a lot of these kids, this is their first time in a museum, so they are really not sure what to look at or how to look at, what they are supposed to get out of it.”

Daniel also oversaw the creation of kaleidoscopes by the students the day before the event, discussing the science behind the craft. Students also created “sound sandwiches” or kazoos. Many of the activities focused on using language to describe art just as much as the art itself, but students also had the opportunity to consider what art is as part of their visit.

“[Hopefully this will] broaden their horizons,” said Brandy Barnes, who was over a group of English for Speakers of Other Languages students. “Just looking at the different pieces of art, and really enjoying the cello and seeing how that works and the kaleidoscope. They can go back and say art isn’t just painting, it is putting pieces together.”

The art museum encourages students to put together their own thoughts as well, when considering the art on display.

“Seeing the children discover that they actually know more than they think they do [is exciting], and they are discovering when they look at a work of art,” said Sallie Keith, the education director at LAM.

“I use what is called visual thinking strategies and have them take a minute to examine, to be detectives and look. You ask them finally after they’ve had a chance to look, ‘what is happening?’ So, they have to analyze what is happening to tell me.”

She said that children may see something different from adults, but when she asks them why they think something is happening, they often have good reasons.

The museum hosted a similar program in 2017 centered around “In the Land of Pasaquan: The Story of Eddie Owens Martin,” an award-winning exhibit which was on display at that time. Lauren Oliver, deputy director of LAM, said that several of the children who participated brought their parents back later to see the art at the museum.

“When the kids bring the parents, and they get involved, it has a huge impact on lifelong learning for both students and parents,” Oliver said.

Students from Merriweather County are expected to visit the museum next week.

“Take Your Time” will be on display at LAM until Aug. 17. To learn more about LAM, visit Lagrangeartmuseum.org.