COLUMBIA — The Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School collaborates with the MU Museum of Art and Archaeology to hold the program Art After School for students.
The two have had a history of collaboration because of the Partners In Education program, said Ann Mehr, an art specialist at Lee School.
“We formalized the partnership eight years go, but for 20 years I’ve been bringing kids over on a regular basis to learn at the museum,” she said. “I’m just so glad the museum is so close that we can just walk over.”
The program consists of four interactive art projects that take place from October to January at the museum.
The first in the series, “I can Fly!” was held on Oct. 13.The students looked at ancient and mythical part-human, part-animal art pieces such as a sphinx and created a hybrid self-portrait afterward.
Upcoming art projects
On Nov. 10, students will pay a visit to the new Mediterranean Melting Pot exhibition in the Ancient Gallery. They will learn about the production process of these vessels and make their own using clay or cans.
On Dec. 8, students will get a notebook and an excavation kit to use when they dig into hardened brick in search of artifacts. The museum's staff archaeologists will explain their jobs to the children.
On Jan. 12, students will tour the museum to study animal-shaped art pieces. Then they'll make masks.
Mehr said the program does not only engage students in art but also allows them to connect to the world through art.
“Modern kids spend too much time in front of screens; what they learn is also virtual and they’re so disconnected from reality,” she said. “When they get to come to the museum and learn in front of primary sources and materials, that’s very powerful and important to them.”
The program also enhances the knowledge the students have about art, Mehr said.
“In the museum I get to reinforce art concepts that the children learn at school. They get to observe two- and three-dimensional art, and they get to observe landscapes, still lifes, portraits and so on.”
The most rewarding aspect of this program is that children get to understand that art, people and life are all related to one another, Mehr said.
“When the kids get to come and see artifacts from different countries and different times, they get the sense of how people are more the same than different,” she said. “I think it’s particularly poignant for children to learn about that.”