Class #10: Themes Workshop

As the semester is nearing its end, the Teen Docents started to work on themes for their final tours, which will happen in the American Folk Art Museum’s galleries on May 23rd.

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First, they learned some techniques for leading conversations about artwork. They started off by practicing Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a way to guide open-ended discussion with the questions “What is going on in this picture?” “What do you see that makes you say that?” and “What more can we find?” After so many weeks of participating in sophisticated conversations about folk art objects, the students had a difficult time leading the conversations for each other without jumping in with their own well-crafted thoughts! They also practiced skills like pointing to the aspects of the artwork that were being discussed, paraphrasing comments, and linking comments back to earlier points in conversation, adding  layers of analysis to their discussion.

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Next, the students considered the importance of choosing a theme when crafting a tour and, using sample images from the collection, created their own themes and sub-themes. Carolyne pulled objects that consisted of images carved into teeth, drawn on unfurled cigarette paper, and painted on a gate; her theme was Materials and her sub-theme was Unconventional Supports. Maziel compiled a set of three artworks that employed all-over patterns; her theme was Patterns and her sub-theme was Breaks in the Pattern. Karina picked a theme of Group Scenes with a sub-theme of Diversity.

Lastly, working in pairs, the students spread out through the museum in order to pick the preliminary themes, sub-themes, and objects they’ll use for their final tours. Stay tuned to find out what they selected!


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