November 1 marks my 20th anniversary as Executive Director of Contemporary Craft. Where has the time gone? As I reflect back on the last two decades, one of things I am most proud of is our 20-year-long Museum/School Partnership program, launched as a pilot early in 1996 with support from the Grable Foundation.
Offered at South Brook Middle School in Brookline, the program provides long-term, intensive exposure to the arts for all students through craft residencies in the classroom: Quilted Traditions with Tina Williams Brewer (sixth-grade), The Talisman Project with Gerry Florida (seventh-grade), and Woodturned Bowls and Pens with Linda Van Gehuchten (eighth-grade). The residencies feature arts-infused curricula that use art as a mechanism to engage students, enhance learning in core subjects, develop critical thinking, and foster lifelong creativity.
I want to share with you an excerpt from a testimonial given by Maghen Mager, the former art teacher at South Brook, at our Heart of Craft luncheon last year about how this program impacted her students:
Contemporary Craft’s Museum School/Partnership supports our curriculum and provides the opportunity for every student to learn. Pablo Picasso said that “every child is an artist.” Young children are expressive, verbose, risk takers. At the middle school level though, students lose their confidence, became self-conscious, and seem to relate only to themselves. The artist in residence program allows students to solve problems, make decisions, and find their place in the world. Making decisions allow them to feel in control, grounded, and confident. One student, Julia, was very quiet and unsure of herself. While sewing her quilt, you could see her confidence grow. Her peer was having difficulty sewing, so she volunteered to teach him. Now, Julia is leading others!
To hear other personal testimonials that demonstrate our 45-year commitment to enriching and improving the lives of the people we serve, join me at this year’s Heart of Craft luncheon on Wednesday, November 18, from 11:30 am – 1pm. This fundraiser is a free luncheon for people who want to learn more about our diverse exhibitions, and impactful education and outreach programs, and consider making a gift. Space is limited so if you would like to attend the luncheon, please RSVP to Sara Ryan at 412.261.7003, x11 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All of us at Contemporary Craft treasure your commitment to our work and thank you for your continued friendship and support.
Janet L. McCall