Reading High School art teacher Jennifer Flynn gave her students a taste of the endless possibilities during a recent field trip to the University of Michigan Museum of Art.
The museum is one of the largest university art museums in the United States. It has a comprehensive collection that represents over 150 years of history with over 20,000 works of art that span cultures, eras and media.
Before heading to the art museum, students learned about 10 different works of art that are part of the permanent collection. They learned general information about the artist, the title of the work, the year it was made, the style or period it belonged to, and the materials used to create it.
The purpose of the trip was to enlighten and enrich students through the visual arts and help them understand and appreciate different cultures, different viewpoints and different styles of artwork, Flynn said.
“I hope my students enjoyed looking at the artwork, but I also hope they got new ideas and inspiration for their own artwork,” she said. “I wanted them to find and take a selfie with the specific works we studied in class. It’s more exciting when you recognize something you’ve learned and then experience it firsthand, not just seeing it in a photo, but seeing it in real life.”
Students viewed classic European works, as well as African, Asian and modern/contemporary works of art.
Flynn said over lunch she saw several students talk about their likes, dislikes, and why they felt that way. Some said they liked detailed paintings, some said they really liked abstract modern art, and some said they really liked certain stone or metal sculptures.
“I told them I was happy to hear they were discussing their likes and dislikes,” she said. “It means they start to develop their own aesthetic when it comes to creating their own art and it will help them appreciate other people’s art, even if they don’t always understand it.”
Classes will have an art history test at the end of the marking period and as homework they will make wire sculptures inspired by the pieces they saw on the field trip.