AAM Reaches Out to Students to Encourage Creative Learning During Pandemic

The Academy Art Museum in Easton is reaching out to students and their families through its “Art at Home” weekly emails that feature creative ways for students and families to engage in art virtually through activities posted to the Museum’s website. Weekly family art projects are designed to be low-cost and feature easily-available materials. Projects so far have included creating Australian dot art paintings, fashioning Sicilian marionettes out of card stock, making paper molas out of construction paper, and weaving with paper. The project for Earth Day week featured the Museum’s signature art/environmental science program, Junk Mail Fish.

Another innovative offering for students is the Museum’s Portfolio Reviews, offered through Zoom to high school and college-aged students seeking input on their artwork. Constance Del Nero, Museum Director of Children’s Education & Community Programs, has been working with high school students to help them develop a variety of mediums for their portfolios in preparation for college. She also works with college students, providing critiques of their specialized mediums. In addition, Del Nero works as a writing tutor for MFA and M.Ed. graduate students at Lesley University in Massachusetts and is happy to help artists create and revise their artist statements. All artists—students and professionals—are invited to work with Del Nero to craft content for their résumés and websites.

Ben Simons, Director at AAM states, “In addition to our virtual offerings, we have has also stepped up our innovative programming for our partners, such as the Talbot County Public Schools. Constance has created Art Kits, boxes filled with art supplies that continue to be distributed to Talbot County elementary students who depend on free lunches at Easton Elementary-Dobson so that they can continue their creative learning while they are home. I’m very proud of the Museum staff for the extensive outreach and programming we have developed in a short time in response to this crisis.”

Jodi Colman, Principal of Easton Middle School shared a touching story about how beneficial these art boxes have been to children who need other outlets while they are home and how they are helping students to find normalcy and inspiration during this difficult time. She wrote, “One of my language arts teachers shared with this story with me . . . a student who was responsible for watching her siblings while her mother and father were working . . . was so appreciative for the art supplies because her siblings loved them and they kept her brothers and sisters busy so she could do her work. Needless to say, my language arts teacher had tears in her eyes at the current reality for our students.”

To keep the youngest of the Museum’s community engaged, the educators of the Museum’s Mini Masters Early Enrichment Program have been mailing messages and project kits to its pre-K aged children and engaging them through online conversations and activities as well. On Fridays, live story time is also offered on Facebook with Meg from Mini Masters reading a story and doing a simple craft.

To learn more about the Academy Art Museum’s Community Outreach, please contact Jennifer Chrzanowski, Development Manager at jchrzanowski@academyartmuseum.org or visit academyartmuseum.org.

As the premier art museum on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the Academy Art Museum presents high-quality exhibitions and a full range of art classes for visitors of all ages. Past exhibitions have featured artists such as James Turrell, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Pat Steir, and Richard Diebenkorn. The Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The permanent collection focuses on works on paper by American and European artists from four centuries. Arts educational programs range from life drawing lessons to digital art instruction and include lunchtime and cocktail hour concerts, lectures, and special art events, as well as a Fall Craft Show. The Museum also provides arts education to public and private school children from the region.