Education & Public Programs

P.S. 144, teaching artist Molly O'Brien, 2011


The Guggenheim is pleased to once again recognize the significant commitment of The Edmond de Rothschild Foundation for providing the museum with a $75,000 grant to support nine Learning Through Art year-long residencies at six New York City public elementary schools—P.S. 9K, P.S. 28M, P.S. 42M, P.S. 144Q, P.S. 48R, and P.S. 86X—during the 2012–13 school year. Since 1970, Learning Through Art (LTA), the Guggenheim’s hallmark artist-in-residence program, has placed teaching artists in public schools to provide students with more than 30 hours of arts instruction over the course of an academic year. Since its inception, LTA has encouraged nearly 150,000 elementary, middle, and high-school students to improve their creativity, as well as academic, communication, and critical thinking skills. This year, the foundation’s support is helping to partially fund direct costs at nine (of the program’s 17) residencies, including art supplies, gallery tours for students at the museum, and salaries for teaching artists to provide arts instruction to approximately 800 children in the second through sixth grades and professional development to more than 25 classroom teachers, among other LTA activities. By making this commitment to LTA, The Edmond de Rothschild Foundation is helping to ensure that LTA students, whose opportunities to participate in the arts are often limited, have the chance to work on both individual and group projects that allow them to express their ideas and thoughts through art while discovering their own unique skills and interests. Learning Through Art affords students opportunities to learn a range of art techniques such as painting, sculpture, and collage; visit and tour the Guggenheim three times during the year with their teachers and classmates; receive free passes to return to the museum with their families; and have the chance to see their own artwork on view as part of the Guggenheim’s annual student exhibition, A Year with Children. Through these experiences, children learn about art, explore their own creativity, and feel welcome as members of the Guggenheim community.


The School Tour and Workshop and Gallery Tour programs offer visiting second- through 12th-grade classes age-appropriate, interactive gallery tours facilitated by the museum’s Sackler Educators, who are professionally trained in inquiry-based teaching techniques. For the School Tour & Workshop Program, tours are followed by studio art or computer-based workshops in the Sackler Center labs.

First Impressions: Stories and Art at the Guggenheim is a four-session program that links the visual and literary arts for children in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grade. Through First Impressions, Sackler Educators use picture books as a bridge to discuss images in the museum that do not have related text, allowing children to create their own narratives and make connections to art objects while fostering language, visual literacy, and critical thinking skills.

Guggenheim for All: Reaching Students on the Autism Spectrum is a two-year professional development program for the Guggenheim’s 20 Sackler Educators in collaboration with Brooklyn Autism Center, a school that serves children who are on the extreme end of the autism spectrum. This initiative aims to provide Sackler Educators with skills that will help them better serve students with autism through interactive gallery tours and art workshops.

Guggenheim for All: Training Educators on Inclusive Practice is a two-year collaboration between the Guggenheim and City Access New York, as well as other experts in the field of art education for students with disabilities, which offers specialized professional development to 14 teaching artists and 20 Sackler Educators who provide arts instruction and gallery experiences to students in inclusion classrooms.

Teacher Resource Units in print and online provide teachers with materials to support the use of Guggenheim exhibitions and collections during school visits to the museum, as well as in the classroom. The units also have a life beyond a particular exhibition and can be used to develop concepts and themes related to academic curricula, or to modern and contemporary art and architecture in general.

Internship and fellowship programs offer practical museum training experience to pre-professionals interested in pursuing careers in the arts and museum fields.

Family events and tours offered daily, weekly, monthly, or as special events during the year encourage parents and their children to participate in intergenerational activities that inspire dialogue about art between children and their families while encouraging family members to feel comfortable exploring the museum together.

Scholarly tours, lectures, panel discussions, and symposia are offered in conjunction with exhibitions on view, including educator-led tours of special exhibitions, permanent collections, and the museum’s architecture; tours led by exhibition curators and conservators; tours geared toward partially sighted, blind, and deaf visitors; and public lectures, panels, and symposia featuring artists, scholars, critics, and other important voices in the art world.

Mind’s Eye programs serve hard-of-hearing, deaf, partially sighted, and blind adults and offer the opportunity for these audiences to explore the museum’s exhibitions, collections, and architecture by means of linguistic and visual tools particular to their experience. Tours are conducted in American Sign Language, and through verbal imaging (detailed physical descriptions of artworks) and touch.

The Gallery Guide program places arts professionals in the galleries during regular museum hours who are trained both to serve a security role and to engage visitors in conversations about works of art on view.

Public & Artist Interactions is an initiative that engages artists as collaborative partners in developing educational offerings inspired by current exhibitions and their own work. The program aims to provide the Guggenheim’s diverse audiences with more direct and meaningful access to artists, their processes, and to contemporary art in general.

P.S. 144, teaching artist Molly O'Brien, 2011. Photo: Arielle Sheldon

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