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22 Mar, Wednesday
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Montreal Families

Program integrates art as a teaching tool

A new educational program emphasizes the use of art in the classroom with artwork from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA).

EducArt introduces students aged 12-17 to fine art through more than 350 artworks from the museum’s collection. Teachers can show pictures, videos, share quotes and hold class discussions based on social issues featured in the collection, including ecology, family, cultural diversity, feminism and freedom.

The project was launched in September 2017 when secondary teachers and students from the English Montreal School Board, Lester B. Pearson School Board, Commission scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys, Commission scolaire de Montréal and Commission scolaire Pointe-de-l’Île, were introduced to the EducArt.ca education platform designed by the  MMFA.

“We want to bring art into the general classrooms,” says Frank Caracciolo, Lester B. Pearson School Board’s art education consultant. “Teachers can use EducArt as a teaching tool.”

Over the summer, the school boards participated in EducArt: Art in/sight, a joint project that exhibited the artwork of secondary students at the MMFA. Participating schools included Académie Dunton, La Voie, Vincent Massey Collegiate, Royal Vale, Des Sources, Saint-Gertrude and Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School. Each school board created their own flipbook to document the process.

At Pierrefonds Comprehensive High School, which took on the Peace and Justice theme, students learned about Lester B. Pearson, community activism and the mistreatment of aboriginals in Canada. They were asked to respond and discuss their views on Quebec history with artwork, typography and essays. The project, funded by the Ville de Montréal and Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, ran from June 21 to Aug. 12 in the Museum’s J.A. DeSève Gallery and featured paintings, multimedia projects and more.

This year, the focus is on interdisciplinary art, which encourages schools to incorporate art projects into their curriculums. At Lindsay Place High School, for example, students and teachers are working on a project that combines math, music and art. Students will deconstruct a piano, learn about how math is used to make it, and recreate it as a sculpture.

The EducArt platform is accessible online and its creators are hoping to bring it to more schools across the province. “We want to build a community, encourage critical thinking and the use of art as a tool in the classroom,” Caracciolo says.

To help build that community, the MMFA is opening a special wing for teens in its Art Hive, a space for all ages to create and learn about art alongside art educators. The new wing is expected to open next spring.

EducArt.ca offers free access to their online resource centre, which includes thematic images, texts and videos. Teachers and educational consultants can register an account for free. The account gives them access to topical material, the ability to create and share educational activities, as well as consult other activities designed by members of the school community.

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