Eight Westlake High School AP Art History and International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme students involved in a two-year Museum Ambassador program with the Cleveland Museum of Art are coordinating a Community Day project on April 10.
The Family and Community Day involves students sharing what they’ve learned with the public in the form of projects. This year’s theme is the 100th anniversary of the museum’s founding and focuses on Henri Matisse’s “Festival of Flowers” painting. Attendees will be invited to create their own flower and post for the parade.
This year the ambassador program revolved around how to bring teens into the museum to celebrate its 100th anniversary, using specific collections within the museum’s permanent collection.
The Museum Ambassadors program provides a behind-the-scenes experience at the world-class institution. Westlake is one of eight Northeast Ohio schools chosen for this opportunity, with each school permitted to have eight students. Other school involved are Bedford, Cleveland School of the Arts, Shaker Heights, Lincoln West CMSD, Shaw, John Hay and MC2STEM high schools.
During the first year of the program, students participate in behind-the –scenes experiences in various departments at the museum. In their second year, they participate in similar experiences at other University Circle institutions, including the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Orchestra. This year students are working in different areas of the museum library, including education, curating, marketing and research. They are building a general awareness of museum life and careers, as well as building career skills, including public speaking and team-based project planning.
The art museum aligned the program with state education standards and aims to develop 21st century skills in students. Each session, students are asked to solve problems relating to real-world situations occurring in the museum and other places of employment. Students present their ideas and solutions to each other and work in small teams using technology and multi-media. By analyzing gallery space, logos and art, students develop an awareness of the visual information around them.
WHS students visit the museum once a month October through May for the program. Their time culminates in the Family and Community Day. This year’s program, “Celebration Tres Matisse” will be held April 10, 1 to 4 p.m. and will invite attendees to travel back in time to a celebration of flowers.
Westlake Master Students in the second year of the program are Kaylee Carson, Haley Quinlan, Natalie Samenuk, Harleen Shergill and Kyle Wong. Apprentice students in their first year of the program are Yousef Al-Shinnawi, Graham Kowalski and Hayley Swinnerton.
Westlake’s involvement with the program is a result of Social Studies teacher Elizabeth Noren’s participation in the museum’s TEAM (Teachers and Educators at the Art Museum) in 2012. The TEAM creates lessons and best practices for K-12 students using the museum’s permanent collection to promote visual literacy, Cleveland history, world and American history, visual arts and literature.