Visit to the Bronx Museum

A week before the children went to the Bronx Museum. I spoke to them about a possible visit.

We started off by first talking about pastels. I didn’t teach them the entire summer and by the time I joined the program, they were already used to drawing classes via youtube videos. The day I came, they were about to watch a you-tuber explain how to draw with pastels.

I used that as my opportunity to teach them about art history. I taught them how to appreciate spaces that showed art and artist who used either pastels or paint.

Three days before the trip to the museum, I introduced Jamal Shabazz and told them it was his work they were going to see. They watched Legendary Photographer: Honor and Dignity, a clip on youtube of Sahabazz talking about his work and his career. I also made sure they knew that he was inspired by someone they knew, Gordon Parks (a founder of the school they attended). This bit of information made them excited.

On the day of the trip, there was a great stir about whether I should take three little boys who were full of energy. They had a rough time following directions all morning. I made the decision to allow them to attend the trip after remembering how excited they were when they learned about Shabazz and how vital it was for them to see images of people who looked like them in a museum. It was their first time ever visiting a museum!

All 17 children and 5 adults arrived at the museum. We met our educator outside.

We were early and the educator seemed disorganized.

We stood at the museum main reading panel. I always instruct the children to read each panel in museums instead of just walking and looking. However, the educator, dissuade them. She begin to ramble about how long it was and how we didn’t really have to read it… At one point it was like she was begging us not to read it.

During the reading, even the three busy ones listened. The educator cut everyone off after the first paragraph and then escorted the children upstairs to an art room.

She gave everyone a drawing board and spoke in depth about pencils. She had everyone try different types and then lined everyone up and told them to take one pencils and their pad. Next, we returned to the Jamal Shabazz show and she had the group sit down and draw a photograph.

She waited and they drew. Finally, everyone did a show and share. Well, really, no one showed. And no one shared. She asked who drew each picture and then spoke about the pictures. Not really allowing the children to speak about the work.

Around this time, the children began to lose patience.

Next, she told the children to go look at the rest of the exhibit… to Find a photograph and draw it. We were the only ones in the museum and I didn’t stress noise level. I also didn’t give the children any rules of how to behave (outside the talk they were given before we left the school). As I usual, they waited for the educator to give more clear directions.

She didn’t give them three minutes to follow that instruction. She changed her mind.

Actually, let’s look at some of his work together. The younger ones no longer paid attention and continued to view what they had started looking at. Here is a mini video:

She ushered the group into another gallery and we went back upstairs.

Upstairs she told them they were going to use water color. She took out huge water color sheets and asked me if I thought they could share. I told her I wouldn’t mind cutting the sheets in halves so each student could have their own.

The students painted and we returned to the school.