How to Approach Art in the Classroom

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A Guggenheim educator discusses Vasily Kandinsky's; Colorful Life (Motley Life) (Das bunte Leben) (1907) with students. Photo: Tanya Ahmed

Rebecca Shulman Herz, former Senior Education Manager of the Learning Through Art program at the Guggenheim, has written a book detailing the Guggenheim’s unique inquiry-based approach to learning for children in grades 2–8. Titled Looking at Art in the Classroom: Art Investigations from the Guggenheim Museum, the book provides teachers with strategies and resources for investigating art to enhance student learning across the curriculum.
 
Herz, now Head of Education at the Noguchi Museum, spent twelve years involved with Learning Through Art (LTA), a program started in 1970 at the Guggenheim that facilitates year- and semester-long curriculum-based artists' residencies conducted in New York public schools. In the book, Herz references her experiences with LTA and expands on the idea of Art Investigations, a technique that emphasizes the use of visuals and open-ended questions, which in turn prompts students to become critical viewers and thinkers.
 
To promote further understanding of the Guggenheim’s approach to learning, Looking at Art in the Classroom provides easy-to-follow instructions for leading an Art Investigation in the classroom; adaptable lessons, including questions that teachers can use to guide a conversation about a specific work of art; and full-color reproductions of artworks from the permanent collection, including Edgar Degas’s Dancers in Green and Yellow, Vasily Kandinsky’s Composition 8, and Vincent van Gogh’s Mountains at Saint-Rémy.
 
Looking at Art in the Classroom is available through Teachers College Press.

A Guggenheim educator discusses Vasily Kandinsky's Colorful Life (Motley Life) (Das bunte Leben) (1907) with students. Photo: Tanya Ahmed