Experiments with Abstraction: Museum Throwdown in Denver

OK, so it’s time for another Museum Teaching Throwdown, this time in the Mile-High City of Denver!  Next week, as museum education leaders from across the country gather in Denver for the Bank Street and AAM convening “Leading the Future of Museum Education,” I wanted to take advantage of the amazing group of educators and thinkers to experiment in the galleries (that place where all of our theory and practice comes to life).  For this gathering, we’ve decided to work with the Clyfford Still Museum as our laboratory for the evening, experimenting with different ways of engaging abstraction.  Let me start with the event details, followed by more information about the experimenters and what you can expect.

WHEN: Thursday, May 28th, 6:00-7:30pm

WHERE: Clyfford Still Museum, 13th Ave & Bannock Street, Denver

EXPERIMENTERS:  

  • Joanne Lefrak, Director of Education & Outreach at SITE Santa Fe
  • Seema Rao, Director of Intergenerational Learning at the Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Nicole Stutzman Forbes, Chair of Learning Initiatives & Art League Director of Education at the Dallas Museum of Art
  • Victoria Eastburn, Director of Education & Programs at the Clyfford Still Museum
  • yours truly (yes, I’m involved this time, not just MC-ing from the sidelines)

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT

Simple, thoughtful, creative risk-tasking is still the name of the game for this Denver-based Museum Teaching Throwdown, but we’re utilizing a very unique museum space to focus in on how we engage with abstraction.  Thanks to Victoria Eastburn and her team at the Clyfford Still Museum, we’re able to collaboratively explore the work of a single artist and use these direct and intimate gallery spaces as a laboratory for museum teaching.

Students participating in the InStill program at the Clyfford Still Museum. Photo by Jensen Sutta
Students participating in the InStill program at the Clyfford Still Museum. Photo by Jensen Sutta
Since opening in 2011, the Still Museum has already begun to experiment with a variety of ways to engage students and audiences with Still’s abstract paintings, including public program series such as “One Painting at a Time” and immersive, activity-based school programs such as “InStill.”

The museum teaching gathering on May 28th at the Still Museum will involve a series of short gallery experiences followed by a brief reflection on the entire experience and the importance of this type of in-practice experimentation.

We hope to see you in Denver, or you can follow along on Twitter at the hashtag #museumthrowdown!

Photo from boldlivingtoday.com
Photo from boldlivingtoday.com

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