BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport has received a $15,000 Art Works award to support its HMA Peer Docent Program.
The award is part of over $82 million approved by National Endowment for the Arts Chairwoman Jane Chu to fund local arts projects and partnerships. The HMA Peer Docent Program introduces Bridgeport middle school students to art and art history, teaching them to look at art critically and guide classmates during tours. The grant will allow HMA educators to train 90 students to be docents who will guide 600 classmates on tours of Downtown Bridgeport.
Through the program, students develop visual, analytical and critical thinking skills that will assist them across academic disciplines and throughout their lifetimes. The National Endowment for the Arts Art Works category supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.
“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said Chu. “Supporting projects like the one from the Housatonic Museum of Art offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”
The HMA Peer Docent Program is in its 15th year of successfully introducing Bridgeport students to art and architecture in their communities and throughout the region.
“We are thankful to receive this award as we continue to expand students’ understanding of the art that surrounds them,” said Robbin Zella, executive director of HMA. “For the past three years, the program’s focus has been local architecture with field trips to architectural marvels in New Canaan and New York City. For this coming year, we’ve partnered with the Westport Library, where its award-winning Maker Space will allow students to participate in classes, sketching their own architectural designs and making them come to life with 3-D printing.”
Additionally, this year’s program has enlisted award-winning architect Thom Mayne. Originally from Waterbury, Mayne is a renowned architect and a Turnaround Arts Initiative Artist. Mayne will be working with Hall school in Bridgeport.
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