Community Foundation, Southington Education Foundation Partner To Provide Hands-On Arts Experience for Southington Third Graders
Artist-in-Residence Grant Teams Southington Schools with New Britain Museum
New Britain, Conn. (November 13, 2014) – Acting on a recent survey by Southington’s schools which found that two of three Southington third grade art students have had no exposure to art museums, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain (CFGNB) and Southington Education Foundation (SEF) have partnered to fund a groundbreaking program that will dramatically boost that figure.
The Foundations are teaming up to provide grants totaling $24,875 to the Southington Public Schools to fund a broad-based arts initiative this school year for nearly 500 third graders in each of the town’s eight elementary schools. The funding will provide for a New Britain Museum of American Art (NBMAA) Artist-in-Residence to offer hands-on lessons for students in the creation of Connecticut landscapes; student travel to the NBMAA for a docent-led tour of museum art works; a full-day workshop for Southington’s third grade art teachers at the NBMAA; and an end-of-year art show at each school, featuring student works emerging from lessons learned.
“We’re extremely enthusiastic about this wonderful opportunity,” said Southington Assistant Superintendent of Schools Karen Smith, who explained that the program will be a blend of arts and social studies curricula. “Our goal was to look broader than art, broader than social studies, and broader than just one or two schools. This is a perfect chance to extend a unique opportunity to all of our third graders that is extra-curricular, but still based on the tenets of our written curriculum.
“It’s fair to say that were it not for the partnership between the Community Foundation and Southington
Education Foundation, we wouldn’t even be talking about such a program.”
“This is another terrific example of invested community partners coming together to bring a promising concept to fruition, and we are thrilled to be part of it,” said CFGNB President Jim Williamson. “Being part of this collaborative effort to broaden the educational experience of our area’s youngsters at such an impressionable age was an opportunity we could not pass up.”
Added SEF Chairman Jan Galati, “We’re very excited about this unique program because it will allow Southington third graders to gain exposure to the arts in a way that they’ve never had before. The New Britain Museum of American Art is such a gem right here in our backyard and this will be a wonderful opportunity for our children.”
The same survey which found that only 35 percent of Southington third graders have been to an art museum, also found that less than 10 percent had been to the New Britain Museum. At the NBMAA, students will tour priceless Museum works including art from the Colonial Period, Hudson River School, Impressionism and 20th Century Masters, including the noted Thomas Hart Benton murals.
The goal of the project is to have students increase their knowledge and skills in the visual arts, specifically landscapes. Learning objectives will be tied to State of Connecticut standards for the visual arts, as well as state standards for social studies.
“Time and time again studies show the positive impact that a trip to an art museum has on student learning. Using artwork and engaging in interactive dialog, the NBMAA is a unique resource and extension of the classroom,” said Museum Director of Education Linda Mare. “The Museum is elated that this partnership is underway and thankful to Southington Public Schools, CFGNB and SEF for recognizing the importance of arts education and its many interdisciplinary connections.”
According to Smith, planning is now underway to outline program logistics and schedule the artist-in-residence sessions.
The Southington Education Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization committed to enriching the minds and lives of Southington’s most impressionable community members – its school students. SEF operates independently of the Southington Board of Education and local tax dollars to secure funding for worthwhile, relevant projects that otherwise would not be available to our school children.
Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain connects donors who care with causes that matter in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. It does this by raising resources and developing partnerships that make a measurable improvement in the quality of life in each of these communities. For more information, visit www.cfgnb.org