Interactive Learning in Museums of Art and Design May Learning in an Interactive Gallery: A Conceptual Approach for All Ages

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1 Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee Interactive Learning in Museums of Art and Design May 2002 Learning in an Interactive Gallery: A Conceptual Approach for All Ages Susy Watts, developer of ArtQuest at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN Museums seek to engage visitors of all ages, backgrounds, experiences and interest levels. Whether the visitor arrives with an inquiring mind or is perhaps a family member pulled along in the company of another, the museum reaches out to make a meaningful connection. In this the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN, typifies museums that are alert to the possibilities of interacting with the public. Consider these examples. Picture a pre-school-age art museum visitor standing before a sculpture. She is four years old and has just completed a guided tour that places a focus on finding similarities and differences between works of art. As she pauses to ponder the last pair of artworks, Luis Jiménez s large-scale, colour-incorporated fibreglass sculpture End of the Trail with Electric Sunset and James E. Fraser s End of the Trail, she sums up, The horse is tired and sad, just like the man. Her response makes clear that young visitors may employ formal analytic processes that may be considered as far beyond their years. Or look over the shoulders of two north-western United States museum-goers. They re standing side by side at an exhibition titled Fallen Timber, curated by Greg Bell. The exhibition includes art by people who work in the woods or who come from families that work in the woods, and it s also an exhibition without a political agenda. One visitor identifies himself as a logger, the other as an environmentalist. Both visitors voice an audible, Yes!, even though these visitors are affirming two very different interpretations in response to the same painting, Michael Brophy s Clearcut. Finally, I vividly recall a visitor to a metropolitan museum of contemporary art. On view was an installation exhibit that some might characterize as difficult. An older man identified himself to the security staff as recently retired, and asked for assistance. The security person assured him there were rest-room facilities on the lower level, and some books too. The man continued, I just need help with the art. My adult children told me that learning about contemporary art might be one way to spend my time in retirement. So here I am. I don t even know where to start. Clearly a visitor s age does not guarantee confidence in looking at or talking about art. Art Essentials, ArtQuest Interactive Gallery To respond to visitors like this, the Frist Center established its interactive gallery ArtQuest. Within the first few months of development it became clear that this should be a gallery for all ages and all experience levels. Through ArtQuest the museum wishes to build confidence in looking at, talking about and making art for all its visitors. There was also purposeful planning for an added aim for the moon factor that makes the possibilities for responses limitless... and, for those visitors with new or renewed confidence, fun! 1

2 Confidence in the arts Whether interactive approaches are in place to enhance the process of comparison, to aid visitors in supporting a personal interpretation, to help visitors gain insight into the artist s meaning when viewing unfamiliar art or to support scores of other voiced and unvoiced visitor needs that the aesthetic encounter evokes, it seems interactive learning is here to stay. Certainly many visitors to an art museum, young or old, may have already benefited from either a sequential education in the visual arts or an earlier or wider experience in looking at art. However, it s important to realize that the ever-increasing visitorship museums are now experiencing (US Bureau of the Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1985, 1992) brings some new challenges to us all. Today many visitors have received an inconsistent approach to visual art education within the formal education system, and both children and adults can be left feeling neither confident nor competent to look at or talk about art. Some visitors lack the most basic knowledge about art concepts, as well as about media and materials. Others may lack intrinsic skills in the area of the artistic processes that facilitate exploration of bigger ideas or that might help them tackle unfamiliar imagery. In the USA no comprehensive or routine measure is made of the amount of arts education provided in schools. However, we do have a relatively recent snapshot of opportunities for learning in the arts, as in 1997 the USA conducted its first national assessment of learning in the arts. The study involved a nationally representative sample of eighth-grade students, averaging 13 and 14 years of age, from public and non-public schools. This research marked the first time in the USA that a national assessment used tools more sophisticated than pencil and paper or fill-in-the-bubble tests to measure learning in any subject area (the assessment was offered in other subject areas as well). In its investigation of the arts the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) measured the ability of students to create, perform and respond to works of art in dance, music, theatre and the visual arts. The most instructive outcome of the assessment was its conclusion: those students who actively engaged with works of art by responding to them and creating them in and out of school had higher scores. Unfortunately, the test also revealed that nearly half of the participating eighthgraders were not enrolled in a visual arts course. Of the students assessed, only 52% attended schools where visual arts were taught to the typical eighth-grader at least three or four times a week. For 17% of the students no art at all was taught, for 5% it was taught less than once a week, and for 25% it was taught less than twice a week (NAEP 1997 Arts Report Card, National Center for Education Statistics, 1998). These statistics show why it is not surprising that both children and adults often feel uncomfortable or uncertain when in an art museum. They have arrived without an ongoing visual arts education. At the Frist Center, in Nashville, TN, the potential audience of all ages, backgrounds and levels of artistic experience became a primary influence. When Nashville set out to create a new center for the visual arts, the community influence was supported by another factor. The need to support adults and children in their art exploration stood out clearly when compiling the repeated requests for such assistance by individuals who took part in varied community focus groups and field tests. To their credit the Frist Center made the commitment to make a significant investment both in human resources and financial backing to establish an interactive gallery that truly supports the needs of the public. One-to-one: peer reflection I d like to take just a moment of your time for you to conjure up a mental hologram. Call the image of a visitor vividly to mind, perhaps a visitor you ve observed recently in the galleries of a museum. What did you observe? What was their age? Was it a family? An individual? A 2

3 couple? Did you find yourself wanting to assist them in any way? What did you want them to see or know or know how to do? Educational philosophy The Frist Center is a museum that depends significantly on travelling and special exhibitions to bring wide-ranging art resources to the community. To operate confidently in the museum, visitors cannot rely just on viewing old favourites. They can, though, transfer the skills they have gained in ArtQuest to new images, to new ideas, to changing resources. Yet the same educational philosophy that helps support visitors in considering travelling exhibitions can apply equally well to museums with permanent collections. This is because the visitor employs basically the same concepts and artistic processes to make connections to art found in familiar, permanent collections as to new, unfamiliar art images and objects. Within the 4,000 square feet in the Frist Center s ArtQuest gallery, over 30 ArtStations were designed and created. On arrival, visitors may concentrate their efforts in three interactive gallery areas: Art Essentials focuses on basic art concepts and foundations; Art Materials and Techniques highlights specific media and skills; and Art and Meaning introduces and gives attention to concepts and processes touching on art criticism and interpretation. During the early stages of establishing the Frist Center education department, and continuing with the development of the ArtQuest gallery, a number of points became valuable filters through which each idea was reviewed. Some parallel premises appear in a discussion paper published by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The 21st Century Learner: Common Understandings and Common Strategies, from a gathering on The 21st Century Learner held in Washington, DC, in the spring of At the Frist Center these were among the prominent guidelines: Include and reach out to all ages aesthetically, ergonomically, cognitively and with a broad range of art background and experience in mind. Create ArtStations that do not limit any visitors in their response within their own levels of experience. Create a gallery that changes frequently in small and larger ways, without an overwhelming renewal budget and without needing to close the gallery to do so. Maintain the visitors ability to chart their own pathways, devise their own plans and satisfy their personal aesthetic needs. Keep the art objects central; that is, refer to original art objects directly whenever possible, and through reproductions when it is not possible to integrate original objects. Include multiple learning styles at each ArtStation and throughout the interactive gallery. Select the best interactive tool or catalyst for the intent, to include electronic media when appropriate. Give visitors a chance to consider multiple examples of an idea from more than one current exhibition and in more than one context. Offer visitors many opportunities to respond to visual art with visual responses as with art-making. Use a variety of authentic, embedded assessment strategies to measure learning. Connect art to everyday living. A conceptual approach and the development of ArtQuest Current thinking about how learning takes place, by those in both formal and informal educational spheres, influenced the Frist Center s focus in ArtQuest. The work of three educators Lynn Erickson, Jay McTighe, and Grant Wiggins who currently lead 3

4 workshops throughout the USA on educational design, significantly influenced the design of ArtQuest. All support concept-based approaches to education, although in their writing they may at times use different terms for parallel ideas. In Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction: Teaching Beyond the Facts (1998) Lynn Erickson describes the use of what she terms a conceptual lens to consider information in terms of deeper, transferable understandings. She has stated, By definition, a concept is a mental construct, an organizing idea that categorizes a variety of examples. Although the examples may differ in context, they have common attributes (Erickson 1998, p. 56). The connection between such a concept-based approach and activities taking place at museums seems clear. Museums provide a vast resource of art objects for consideration. Both within and between exhibitions, using a concept-based approach allows visitors to access art and ideas with what educators often describe as a frame for thinking, which serves the viewer when the art object or visual reference is before him/her, again in another gallery with different art objects, and also when the visitor returns to the museum for the next cycle of exhibitions. In ArtQuest, as visitors move from ArtStation to ArtStation, they can access new concepts yet be supported by familiar design components. Each ArtStation features: text with bolded or designed key words (this serves readers who scan the text for quick idea recognition) a stimulus word and/or phrase panel to inspire a wide range of responses ( Things to Think About... ) graphic design that serves as a picture language or communication tool original art or art reproductions references to art in everyday living a range of interactive tools selected for the concepts at hand These repeated components are designed with non-readers in mind, to include those who are unable to read because of age, illiteracy or sometimes as a matter of choice owing to their learning styles. The Figure in Space, ArtQuest. Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee For example, at the ArtStation entitled The Figure in Space visitors consider the relationship of two understandings: Wrapping a figure in line shows the density of extensions of the pose and the amount of space the figure occupies and The outline edge and major inside details of a figure can define its contour and pose. Here, in a studio environment, visitors can either pose as a model for a friend or position a life-size wooden manikin in a pose and then make a contour or gesture drawing. This ArtStation initially referred to a painting on loan from the Art Gallery of Ontario, Tintoretto s Christ Washing His Disciples Feet, and to Isabel Bishop s Recess #1, from the local collection of Vanderbilt University. Successive months found the visitors changing their frame of reference for one of the pose and gesture examples to an image from The Free Library of Philadelphia s Rare Book Department, Dream of Jacob, a leaf from a Book of Hours by an unknown sixteenth-century French artist. In addition, there is always an Art in Everyday Living example, currently a hero from the local professional football team. 4

5 Erickson defines concept-based learning as a mental construct that is timeless, universal, abstract, and broad (Erickson 1998, p. 56). Let s look at another example of an ArtStation with an opportunity for a visual response art-making. The ArtStation titled Abstraction presents this conceptual understanding: Representation of a subject becomes abstract when aspects of the subject are simplified or exaggerated. During the grand opening of the Frist Center references to art on view included Diego Rivera s Mother and Child with Calla Lilies and a sculpted, abstract eagle from the front door of the Frist Center. Visitors, including those who are quite young, surprised themselves with their first attempt at drawing an abstraction. As they employ technology, in the form of a digital camera and a slave monitor, visitors explore the ArtStation titled A Photographer s Point of View and consider the related art understanding: Selection of an artistic composition can determine or direct the perception of an event. Using a detailed photographic reference, a visitor frames only a part of the composition in the viewfinder of the camera, snaps a picture, and leaves his or her chosen viewpoint of the scene at hand on the slave monitor. The next viewer is informed by the previous visitor s viewpoint, but usually selects a very different aspect, subject, or idea from the image, choosing to tell a different story with the image they frame. Art Making: Paint and Brush, ArtQuest. Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee At Paint and Brush, in the Art Materials and Techniques section of the gallery, visitors are encouraged to seek a broader variety of mark-making capabilities through the use of a range of painting tools. Here the staff has the capacity to change the tools available to parallel work on view in current exhibitions, as well as historical or cultural approaches. Visitors can explore options that go from laying paint on in the sweeping brushstrokes of an Expressionist or the finite brush of the medieval manuscript painter, to using a Sumi brush or other alternative painting tools made from natural objects. This ArtStation also gives visitors new insights into their own approaches to mark-making. They can directly experience the way the size, character, pressure, or slant of a painting tool can determine the quality of the painted mark. Returning to the consideration of concept-based art education, Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins focus on developing and deepening understanding, and consider understanding as a multi-faceted view. As they put it, Understanding is thus not mere knowledge of facts, but knowledge of why and how, laid out in evidence and reasoning... when we understand in this way we can make inferences and offer predictions; we can go beyond the information given to make connections and associations (McTighe and Wiggins 1999, p. 13). As visitors view an original work of art slowly moving on a turntable, the Art in the Round ArtStation introduces the big idea that Three-dimensional balance in space is determined by consideration of more than one viewpoint. Visitors can opt to work on their own turntables to construct planar sculptures and transfer the understanding from their planar sculptures to local architecture that has intersecting planes, for example to the new Country Music Hall of Fame, as referred to in the Art in Everyday Living panel. The sculpture and art-making featured at the ArtStation can change at any time to parallel the changes in sculptural style found in work on view in the exhibition spaces, giving visitors a parallel opportunity to respond. McTighe and Wiggins define enduring understandings as the important ideas or core processes that have lasting value... such understandings are generally abstract in nature, so 5

6 they require uncoverage through sustained inquiry (McTighe and Wiggins 1999, p. 27). Within the ArtStation Art Meets Dance technology aids the visitor s ability gradually to uncover interdisciplinary artistic ideas, including such concepts as shared ideas about pathways, directions and levels of line in dance and visual art. In order to offer visitors more than one way to respond to the interactive tool, they have a choice of simply watching or actively drawing in response to a series of investigations into dance styles that encompass ballet, contemporary, African and clogging. By enabling them to choose to use technology as the interactive tool this ArtStation allows visitors to draw what they see, to seek still more tracking clues from a ghosted electronic image or to see electronically layered moving lines that track the pathways of a dancer s head, spine, arms and legs as they dance. At many points in the development of ArtQuest community members contributed to the resources at hand, and this is very much the case with this ArtStation in particular. The concepts presented here are Variations and modifications in visual line can represent parallel ideas in the elements and composition of dance, music, and visual art and Variations in use of line can represent different styles in the arts. Going beyond the present, this ArtStation suggests the possibilities of using technology to investigate concepts shared between visual art, mathematics and science. The design of this gallery is ready and able to support such a change. The question is only of when this will take place. It may take a while for visitors to be ready to let go of the current conceptual investigation, just as they may be reluctant to see a travelling exhibition leave town. Reflection point Again, I d like to take a few moments to introduce some questions to you. What enduring understandings would best serve your art audiences? What do your visitors need to know (critical concepts)? What do you want your visitors to do (skills and processes)? How do you want your visitors to be (attitudes, habits of mind, dispositions)? Including the creative processes and art criticism Finding and recognizing artistic meaning and seeking meaning in art can be a most challenging process for the novice art museum-goer. In this regard McTighe and Wiggins quote the eminent psychologist Jerome Bruner (1996, p. 90), who has written, Narratives and their interpretations traffic in meanings, and meanings are intransigently multiple... stories and events can have many different plausible and illuminating interpretations. Interpretations of art are as varied as those constructed for narratives. At the Frist Center visitors are not only introduced to art concepts and media but are also offered the opportunity to investigate the curatorial process, in the ArtStation titled Be A Curator. This ArtStation asks visitors to consider building a big idea, rather than just passively taking in the official museum theme or premise for an exhibition. At a double-sided magnetic-surfaced ArtStation that hints at being a miniature art gallery, and using magneticbacked art reproduction selections from current exhibitions, a visitor may select art for an exhibition and learn to support a big idea. One result that surprised us was an exhibit concept created by an early childhood visitor at the Be A Curator ArtStation, and the exhibition was to be about Big Hair. This idea drew together a number of examples to support a single feature. An adult might actually group a different combination of art objects to support a sophisticated big idea relating two concepts. One such example was titled Different Faces of Feelings. Although a high-tech possibility could have worked well for this ArtStation, the low-technology use of magnetized manipulatives seems successfully to meet the intent of the ArtStation; moreover, the ArtStation works equally well for individuals, families and in guided group settings. 6

7 Another ArtStation, Comparison, offers visitors the opportunity to use a graphic design communication tool as they practise an artistic thinking process with original art objects in a contained setting. Together these reveal some of the key facets of the comparison and interpretation processes. At this ArtStation the graphic designer was challenged to create an icon that communicates the use of visual analysis, research and personal interpretation within the comparison process. The topic here is Use of visual analysis, research, and personal interpretation can guide the comparison of two works of art. From a five-year-old girl as recorded by her parent: It looks like the walrus comes from the sea. The walrus can bite very hard because it has very sharp teeth. It has a very long tail and it is fat. The horse looks like it comes from the zoo. It has a very short tail (I think) its feet make clippity-clappity sounds when it is running. This young viewer has engaged in purposeful comparison, using visual analysis and personal experience. At the ArtStation Interpretation visitors first listen to varied artistic interpretations by the artist, by art museum professionals and by community members of differing ages and then write and support their own interpretations. Nothing about this ArtStation hinders visitors from choosing to ignore the audio components and mentally constructing their own interpretations, or just sitting side by side with a friend and talking about the art. This ArtStation supports the understanding Personal experience, visual analysis, and/or knowledge of historical information can determine a visitor s interpretation of a work of art. This is one example of visitors using an ArtStation from many different approaches, yet all demonstrate use of an interpretation strategy. Some visitors choose to document their interpretations by recording their observations on My Personal Interpretation cards. From a 13-year-old girl: A busy city with lots of noise. A traffic jam, a hobo, a train station, and frustrated people. From a 17-year-old male: Crowded city, frustrated people, road rage. Car crashes, horns honking! Lots of cabs. A shortage of police, as always. Tall buildings. People shopping. Looks like many cities do during rush hour. From a 40-year-old man: As a native New Yorker, I m amazed at the detail. It s so whimsical and lifelike. After September 11th this is what the city is like. Everyone still has a sense of purpose and we will keep going as a nation. I can almost smell the pizza! I ve been right there. From a 53-year-old female: I would love to be there. The place is so full of life, colours, smells, sounds, atmosphere! How well the artist made this with such an odd kind of 3D almost like seeing it in a snapshot and with personal knowledge of the place creating this multi-dimensional sculpture with the attention to detail that couldn t be captured in a photo. The ArtStation is designed to leave fabrication modulars in place, but then change the original work of art as frequently as time and budget allow in order to reflect the art shown in current exhibitions. Here I d like to give special thanks to Red Grooms for his willingness to go first with Grand Central Station (1992). At a computer kiosk titled Art and Meaning: Approaches to Art visitors may consider the understanding that one work of art could be approached from very different angles, including a formal approach, a narrative approach, a cultural/historical approach and/or a personal approach. As visitors move through the software programme here they can consider approaches to the art that contribute to deeper understandings. These support the concept Approaching a work of art in different ways can expand a viewer s understanding as they look at, think and talk about, and respond to art. Through the software programme here visitors have several opportunities to enter their own discoveries, interpretations or conclusions. 7

8 Extending the experience From the beginning, ArtQuest was conceived as a self-contained space. But once the conceptual design process began it became clear that ArtQuest was going to be a jumping-off point. Consequently the design is intended to do everything possible to push the viewer gently back into the galleries. This high respect for the unique learning opportunity experienced with a first-hand encounter with original art inspired use of reproductions that refer to current exhibitions, but only when it was impossible to use an art object complementary to or a part of the current exhibitions. To further the effort to encourage firsthand applications of understandings, the ArtQuest Journal was created to be available as a tool to use in the galleries and at home to continue to apply artistic understandings. The journal was designed to refer to specific ArtStations. Thus visitors can respond to the ArtStations in their journal, turn the page and respond to art in the galleries, then turn another page and respond to an everyday experience with artistic understandings. There is one basically passive element in this interactive gallery, and it s titled The Creative Eye. Placed in a central hub in the gallery, two videos shown in a three-screen format introduce various facets of the creative process. The initial videos feature: (1) gathering information for art, in Observation ; and (2) refining art, in Draft and Redraft. This part of the gallery honours the visitor who prefers to take in ideas visually and without an automatic response. In a highly collaborative move of the kind for which the Frist Center is well known, the art featured here comes from other Nashville cultural institutions. For example, in the case of Draft and Redraft, the art is housed in the Country Music Hall of Fame down the street. When funding is available, it will be possible to add to the video selections, opening further explorations of the creative process in this viewing space. Just a word about assessments Digital Portfolio at the Presenting Art ArtStation, ArtQuest Gallery. Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee At the Frist Center the interactive gallery was designed with outcome-based evaluation in mind. While the initial assessment efforts are intrinsically steeped in attempting to identify and ferret out the traits and dimensions that exist when someone demonstrates an understanding, the underlying hope is that the visitors responses will also give clues about new ways to measure learning in informal learning settings. The ArtStations were designed to capture visitor responses in a number of ways obviously, some captures are easier than others. Drawn from areas such as verbal response cards, visual responses, personal digital portfolios and photographic examples of visitor responses, object-based evaluation efforts are an ongoing investigation. All these elements play a part in the effort to find ways to gather evidence of learning from visitors in the gallery. With the help of some of the leading thinkers in the field of database construction, as well as new software programmes, we are aware that computers will not analyse a visitor s responses for us (Kirsten Ellenbogen, in an American Association of Museums annual meeting presentation, May 2001). However, the software is able to help us sort and make sense of assessment samples by age, by type of artistic concept/process and sometimes even by the traits and dimensions of the response. Whether we consider visitors verbal responses to a software programme, their artistic responses, or their process responses within portfolio management or photograph their movement of a magnet or grouping of art reproductions, we are continually searching for ways validly and reliably to record what visitors know and can do. And the aim is to capture embedded assessments, the type of review and evaluation that happens naturally as a part of the process of viewing and making art, as opposed to a final evaluation based on an end-response. 8

9 A personal word or two A two- to three-year journey such as the one needed to establish the interactive facility at the Frist Center is never a singular effort. But a few key components have helped to assure its success. First, the museum s Director, Chase Rynd, has a deep-seated belief that art education will support museum membership and encourage repeat visits to the museum. He made ArtQuest possible through his continued support. He did not rubber-stamp ideas, but questioned and contributed, and then stood up more than once to defend our belief that the adult audience should be included in the conceptual and aesthetic design of this space. Nine months into the design process Anne Henderson, in her new position as the Director of Education for the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, joined me in working on the education programme. Pragmatism is crucial to development of an interactive gallery, and she offered sensible advice throughout the process. In addition to bringing into being a full staff of museum educators and museum programming, she simultaneously stayed deeply involved in the conceptual process for ArtQuest, editing side by side with me, and working directly with fabricators close at hand when I was not on-site. Then, at the very last moment, she convinced me that a deeply researched and planned ArtStation that provided a changing, physical experience, Art and Architecture, could no longer be afforded enough space in the gallery to realize its planned-for kinaesthetic experience, aimed at discovering the pathways and surfaces conceptualized by architects. It would have to wait for another day, another opportunity. Hiring Carol Klahn as the educator for ArtQuest not only assured that the gallery would have the day-to-day expertise of an experienced art educator who could train staff and volunteers to interact with visitors without interrupting their creative process, but also provided me with a critical colleague able to edit text, manage graphic design components and change, invent and assure an ongoing vital life for ArtQuest. When technology was the right educational tool for learning, the software firm OMG of Birmingham, AL, was able to realize for us, through multimedia, complex understandings the museum targets as crucial to visitors. They are also responsible for us being able to view some of ArtQuest s technology in today s presentation. A rather complex and ever-changing matrix and series of design planning formats, formats shared by each of the ArtStations, helped all of us to communicate, adjust, refine and hopefully not to forget too much in the planning stages. The enduring understanding for each ArtStation was placed at the core of the matrix and design formats. A solid editor for the accompanying texts was also valuable in developing the wording for crucial understandings. Advancing the return visit and honouring the visitor Aesthetically this interactive gallery intends, from the visitor s first sight of the entrance, to engage people of all ages and experiences. It endeavours to fit in with, and to reflect, the design of the building not to appear to be a separate space, but to be an integral part of the overall museum visit. The design of the interactive gallery makes an effort to honour visitors, whoever they may be: the reticent one who may not want to have anyone looking over his or her shoulder during that first art-making attempt (thus the carrel design for some ArtStations); the seasoned art professional, working at a profound level of thought; or the youngest, non-reading visitor who may be actively using images to engage in anything and everything at hand. This interactive gallery tries to take into account Mihály Csikszentmihályi and Kim Hermanson s thoughts by offering opportunities for flow, a spontaneous, almost automatic, state like the flow of a strong current... they tend to occur when the opportunities for action in a situation are in balance with the person s abilities. In other words, the challenges of the activity must 9

10 match the skills of the individual. If challenges are greater than skills, anxiety results; if skills are greater than challenges, the result is boredom (Csikszentmihályi and Hermanson, p. 36). Another major element of ArtQuest is that it is intended to be an active part of the museum for a very long time neither a specialized Been there, done that experience, nor a do-it-all, one-time event. I anticipate that there will come a time when I will fly to Nashville, walk into ArtQuest and fail to recognize any of the initial interactive gallery concepts, because the visitors have moved on to gain new understandings at newly designed ArtStations. Reflection point I would like to pose a few questions to you for your personal reflection. What concepts have you learned in your recent experiences in interactive galleries? What artistic or creative processes did you select as a focus when designing an interactive gallery? What new concepts or processes would you like for your visitors to take into the everyday world from an interactive gallery? Conclusion A concept-based approach to interactive education endeavours to leave the visitor with more than an experience, more than an exposure to the arts. It aims to give each visitor confidence and competence in looking at, talking about and making art. And it is hoped that this new confidence and competence will be applied not only in the museum setting, but will equip the visitor for his/her everyday artistic world. Bibliography Csikszentmihályi, Mihály, and Hermanson, Kim (1995): Intrinsic Motivation in Museums: What Makes Visitors Want to Learn?, Museum News, vol. 74/3, pp Erickson, H. Lynn (1998): Concept-based Curriculum and Instruction: Teaching beyond the Facts (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.) Erickson, H. Lynn (2001): Stirring the Head, Heart, and Soul: Redefining Curriculum and Instruction (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.) McTighe, Jay, and Wiggins, Grant (1999): The Understanding by Design Handbook (Alexandria, VA: ASCD Publications) McTighe, Jay, and Wiggins, Grant (2000): Understanding by Design (Alexandria, VA: ASCD Publications) Art References Luis Jiménez, End of the Trail with Electric Sunset, 1971 Painted fiberglass, 84 x 84 x 30 in. Collection of Frank Ribelin Exhibition: In Search of Sunsets: Images of the American West 1850 to Present, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington, 1992 Michael Brophy, Clearcut, 1993 Oil on canvas, 54¼ x 70¾ in. Courtesy of the artist and Laura Russo Gallery, Washington Exhibition: Fallen Timber, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington, 1995 Jacopo Robusti, Called Tintoretto, Christ Washing His Disciples Feet, ca Oil on canvas, 61 x 160½ in. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Gifted by general subscription, 1959 (58/51) 10

11 Exhibition: European Masterworks: Paintings from the Collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee, 2001 Isabel Bishop, Recess #1, 1975 Oil on board, 30 x 44 in. Collection of Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, purchased with funds provided by Vanderbilt Art Association and the National Endowment for the Arts ( ) Exhibition: An Enduring Legacy: Art of the Americas from Nashville Collections, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee, Unknown Artist, French, 16th century, Dream of Jacob, ca , Leaf from a Book of Hours for Rome Use Vellum, 5¾ x 4 in. The Free Library of Philadelphia, Rare Book Department, Lewis E M Exhibition: Leaves of Gold: Manuscript Illumination from Philadelphia Collections, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee, 2002 Diego Rivera, Woman and Child with Calla Lilies, 1938 Pastel and charcoal on paper; 18½ x 24½ in. Private Collection Exhibition: An Enduring Legacy: Art of the Americas from Nashville Collections, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee, Red Grooms, Grand Central Station, 1992 Mixed media wood construction mounted in Plexiglas case, 51¾ x 56¾ x 23¾ in. Collection of Walter G. and Sarah Knestrick Photographic References Tennessee Titans Defensive End Jevon Kearse Photograph courtesy of the Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Tennessee Art in Everyday Living, ArtQuest, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee Anonymous, Eagle Ornament, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee Photograph: Frist Center for the Visual Arts/Bill LaFevor Susy Watts Susy Watts serves as a national associate to the Education Committee of the American Association of Museums. She developed the 4000 square foot interactive gallery, ArtQuest, and advised on the museum education strategic plan for the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee, which opened April The interactive gallery features over 30 concept and process-based ArtStations, created to build confidence in looking at, talking about and making art. The gallery combines multimedia, manipulative and art-making opportunities in a space designed to adapt in response to the changing exhibits of the museum. The gallery fabrication, graphics and text design support a wide variety of learning styles and approaches to art for adults and children. Susy Watts currently works as a consultant on strategic planning to the Museum of History and Industry, Seattle, Washington, supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities consultation grant, as the museum reinvents the interpretation of their existing site and 11

12 prepares for exhibitions in their new facility. She recently worked with the Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art, Tacoma, Washington, to develop an object-based theater program that brings contemporary visual art to life through the performing arts for communities and schools. She served as assessments consultant to the Seattle Art Museum s Growing Up with Art program, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Formerly Curator of Education at the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington, she managed the education staff responsible for adult, family, and school programming, and the interactive gallery, ArtWorks. She currently serves on the Washington State Arts Assessment and Arts Implementation Committees for statewide arts education reform. She is Curriculum and Assessments Director for Arts Impact, supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Washington State Arts Commission and foundations to prepare 60 classroom-based teachers in a two-year intensive training program in dance, theater, and visual arts. She works as a consultant to small and large communities with diverse populations, advising artists, arts organisations, schools, and community members in support of art programs throughout Washington, Idaho, and Nevada. Susy Watts teaches elementary and secondary art education at Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, Washington. She received her Master of Science in Education from Indiana University with a focus on museum/school education. 12

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