Westport Arts Center Connections Program
Greenwich, CT June 14th, 2016
In 2013, The Brant Foundation Art Study Center began a partnership with the Westport Art Center Connections program, bringing in students from Side by Side Charter School and the Norwalk Housing Authority. As a sponsor of this program, The Brant Foundation invites the students for a tour of the current exhibition, followed by a 5-week mixed-media art project in the classroom with Westport Art Center’s teaching artist. During the visits to The Brant Foundation, the visual thinking strategies method is utilized to help the students gain both an inspirational and knowledgeable understanding of the exhibition.
The workshops conclude with a student exhibition which showcases the artwork made throughout the 5 weeks.
Connections is an outreach program designed to provide dynamic arts experiences to underserved school-aged children regardless of economic, social or geographic circumstances. Through an artist-in-residency program, Connections provides students in urban communities, within their own school environments, with resources to learn an art form under the tutelage of specialized teaching artists. These artists are expert in their field as well as practiced educators who are able to coordinate lesson plans with classroom teachers to bolster curriculum and to expand the classroom’s capabilities, often in the form of introducing unique materials, professional quality art supplies and intricate lesson plans. In addition to the classroom residency, each Connections partnership includes at least one art excursion to a New York metropolitan area arts and cultural institution.
Over the past 7 years, the program has allowed more than 1,500 students to learn valuable critical thinking, communication and visual literacy skills that have not only enhanced their classroom-learning experiences but also served to prepare them for college.
The primary goals of Connections are to use art as a vehicle for learning and to enhance the relationship between arts learning and classroom instruction. The program focuses on the following objectives:
- To encourage students to engage in creative problem solving through the arts
- To look at the world in a different way – through different lenses
- To give students time to trust in their imagination and power of expression
- To provide students with out-of-school opportunities or field trips and to expose them to professionals who can act as mentors