Zimmerli Art Museum is Fueling Child Creativity
Amanda Potter, Curator of Education and Interpretation for the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, shares how the museum is offering different ways to reach out to children to help fuel their creativity and enhance their learning experiences.
"Welcome. I'm Steve Adubato. We're talking about preschool education and our children growing up great if you will, and we are pleased to be joined by Amanda Potter, Curator of Education and Interpretation for the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University. Good to see you Amanda. Thanks for having me. Describe this wonderful museum. The Zimmerli is part of Rutgers. We just celebrated our 50th anniversary. We house one of the largest university art collections in the country. Everything from American and European art, but what we're really well known for is our collection of Soviet nonconformist art. Which is... I'm sorry, what is it again? Soviet nonconformist art. Art basically that was not officially approved of by the communist government during the Soviet Union. Very interesting stuff. Art that was either, you know, politically critical of the government, or just in a style that wasn't acceptable to Stalin and his successors. Very very interesting work, and we're... it's a wonderful teaching resource as well. Joseph Stalin did not love art, did he? Oh he loved art that was... The art that he controlled? Yes. Yes. [laughter] That was very positive... Right. ...and spoke highly of the Soviet Union, and was very clear. He favored a style called Socialist Realism. So it had to be... no uncertainty, no ambiguity. That goes against the concept of artistic expression? It certainly does. So let me ask you this. The audience for the work there at the museum is? It's... so obviously, a big part of our audience is the university. Both faculty, students, and staff. So we do see a lot of classes. We tailor it to them. We have an academic programming curator that works specifically to find those deep connections. So we have, of course, art and art history. But also classes on media, history, environmental sciences, we even work with the medical colleges. How do you connect this to children so young? So it's... Because this is about growing up great? Yes. So I'm here to speak about one of our longest running programs, which is our preschool Storytelling Adventures in Art. Sorry. Preschool Adventures in Art and Storytelling. It is a program that we really enjoy doing, because we... reaching children at that young age is one of the earliest, you know, it's one of the best indicators of them feeling comfortable in the museum later in their life. Hmm. They feel that they have... there's an exposure, so simply walking in the doors of a place that is so different from their school environment, from their home environment, they learn to look at art to identify different types of art, have some of..."