Art Adventure & Visual Thinking Strategies

Art Adventure

The Art Adventure program at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) introduces works of art from a variety of cultures. Through this program, reproductions of works that can’t leave the museum are brought into Kenwood classrooms. Kenwood parents who have been trained by the Minneapolis Institute of Art visit classrooms with posters of art relating to a common theme. Students follow up the presentation with a visit to the Art Institute to see some or most of the art they learned about in their classrooms.

Ten themes are explored in Art Adventures. They are: “Amazing Animals in Art”, “American Art Sampler”, “Artist’s Inspirations”, “Cultural Reflections in Art”, “Dressed for the Occasion”, “Family, Friends and Foes”, ‘How People Lived”, “Let’s Celebrate Life”, “People and Their Environments” and “Sources of Strength”. The theme explored this school year was ”Family, Friends and Foes”.

Parent volunteers spend a half-day in the galleries at the MIA in training. There are about 20 Kenwood parents currently trained in Art Adventures. Sue Payne, the coordinator of the program at Kenwood, reports that parents have great enthusiasm for the program. The Kenwood PTA funds this program by paying for training for parent volunteers and busses to and from the Minneapolis Institute for the Arts.

The MIA also schedules Art Adventure Family Nights with activities such as Art Adventure guided tours, scavenger hunts, sketching in the galleries and hands-on Art Cart experiences. Admission to the museum is free these evenings and no registration is required.

Visual Thinking Strategies

Visual Thinking Strategies, also known as VTS, is a visual arts program that uses art to teach thinking, communication skills and visual literacy. Teachers use developmentally –based questions to facilitate a discussion around carefully selected works of art.

VTS has two main applications. In museums, it is a way of helping less experienced viewers grow in confidence and the ability to derive meaning from art. In classrooms, it is a sequenced curriculum of art images, seen as slides or posters, that employs careful looking and facilitated discussion.

Many Kenwood teachers are trained in VTS and it is used regularly in kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms.