Guggenheim Museum Receives $1 Million Grant from Dept. of Education

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(New York, NY—August 7, 2006) The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum today announced it has been awarded a $1 million grant by the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate the impact of its pioneering arts education program Learning Through Art (LTA) on students’ problem-solving skills.

Last month, the Guggenheim Museum announced results of another Department of Education-funded study, which showed that LTA had a demonstrable impact on students’ literacy and critical thinking.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute another significant body of research to the field,” said Kim Kanatani, Gail Engelberg Director of Education, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. “Our intent is to demonstrate how the power of art and our dynamic teaching methods positively impact a different aspect of student learning—problem-solving.”

“The Art of Problem-Solving”
The first phase of the Guggenheim’s new four-year study, “The Art of Problem Solving,” will be to bring together artists, educators, and cognitive scientists to identify the problem-solving skills that visual arts can most powerfully teach, and to describe the hallmarks of teaching that will most likely result in students learning these skills. Problem-solving skills include experimentation, brainstorming, breaking down a problem into parts, redefining a problem, and decision making. When creating and actively viewing and discussing art, students are challenged to solve a variety of problems such as manipulating materials, interpreting a work of art, and expressing ideas in visual form.

Rebecca Shulman Herz, Manager of Learning Through Art, explains, “An important aspect of creativity is the ability to solve problems in new and interesting ways: How do you make a sculpture balance, represent a person’s character through color and line, or work collaboratively to create an installation? By engaging students in artistic processes, we are also teaching them to be creative problem-solvers.”

This planning year will be followed by two years of research, during which the evaluation consultant team at Randi Korn & Associates will study 18 classes of fifth grade students, half of whom are in the Learning Through Art program and half of whom are not. The data gathered from these two groups will be compared to determine the impact of Learning Through Art on students’ problem-solving skills.

The final year of the grant will provide time to analyze and disseminate the findings. Related programs will include teacher workshops, a two-day symposium for art educators, and a Summer Institute.

Over its 36-year history, Learning Through Art has placed hundreds of teaching artists in New York City public schools to work with students and classroom teachers on curriculum-based art projects. In 2003, the Guggenheim Museum received a three year Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination grant from the U.S. Department of Education to study the impact of the LTA program on students’ literacy abilities. (For a summary of the study go to

About Learning Through Art
The late Natalie K. Lieberman, a Guggenheim Foundation trustee from 1994 until her death in 1996, founded LTA in 1970, when New York schools were cutting art and music programs. Since it began, it has involved more than 140,000 students in dozens of public schools. The program provides teaching artists in the classroom who collaborate with homeroom teachers to design and lead curriculum-based art projects. LTA culminates in “A Year With Children,” an annual exhibition at the museum of art made by children in the program.

August 7, 2006


Betsy Ennis
Public Affairs
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Telephone: 212/423.3840

For more information about Learning Through Art, please go to or contact Rebecca Shulman Herz at (212) 423-3783, or by e-mail at

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