The mission of the VanGogh Outreach (VGO) program is twofold. We provide SOL-based programming that assists classroom teachers in bringing their curriculum to life. By presenting the material in multiple ways, catering to all learning styles, our program works as an introduction, reinforcement and/or review of the classroom content which helps to crystallize important facts and concepts in the students’ minds in preparation for testing. Equally important to us is the presentation of process-based art projects that introduce students to many different artistic media. Our projects are specifically designed to allow students to explore their own creativity, express their perspectives and connect the content of the lessons with an artistic process or work of art. “Process-based” means that our instructors are not concerned with the final product looking a certain way as much as that the students must explore, make decisions, problem solve and work through the process of creating to get to the final product. Approaching an art project in this way helps students build confidence, analytical thinking and problem solving skills, which contributes to student success across the curriculum (see article, “Top 10 Skills Children Learn from the Arts”). Our goal is not to train students to be artists, but rather to allow them to explore the material through art and see it from a different perspective. While the Museum has enjoyed tremendous success with this program, the WKMA Education Department staff has determined that the program needs to be updated to incorporate new materials, methods and the latest research on Arts Integration. All updates and revisions to VGO will be informed by an extensive program evaluation, underway now. The evaluation includes multiple teacher surveys throughout the year, focus groups with students and teachers and careful consideration of current research on arts education and arts integration methodology. The revised programming will include: 1) updated content based on teacher input and needs, 2) arts integration training for VGO instructors, 3) an enlarged collection of artifacts and manipulatives used to engage the students, and 4) expanded core content and SOLs covered. These updates to our already successful program will enable the Museum to more effectively reach students, serve school districts and grow audiences, thereby more robustly fulfilling its mission and accomplish its strategic goals. As the only American Association of Museums accredited museum in the region, we take very seriously our responsibility to deliver high quality, cutting edge art programming to the youth of Southern Appalachia.
Your donations can make an immediate impact on the children in this area. Please click the link to make an online contribution, or call Chase Mitchell, Director of Advancement, at 276-628-5005 ext 108 to keep this innovative program alive in our region.