The Butler Institute of American Art’s Good Neighbor partnership between area schools and the museum began anew in the fall of 2012.
The popular program was developed as a response to the need for high-quality educational programs in the visual arts within the Youngstown community.
With school budget cuts and reduced art education in area schools, this program, which complements the fourth-grade level curriculum, focuses on technology, fine art and language arts curriculum.
The program consists of two museum visits and six outreach programs designed to enhance the reading, writing, communication and critical-thinking skills of students.
Students complete a notebook that encourages them to describe visual images including portraits, landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, as well as nonobjective artworks. Students also explore the elements of design: line, shape, color and texture. Grammar, spelling and penmanship are emphasized in the notebook aspect of the program.
Twenty-three teachers were provided resources to support the classroom element of the program, including reproductions of Butler works, PowerPoint presentations of lessons with scripts and a teacher’s workbook.
Thanks to private donors, each of the 382 participating students received a box of supplies (scissors, pencil, glue stick, crayons) and transportation from their school to the Butler for two museum field trips.
The goal of the program was to connect the classroom curriculum with the Butler art museum, a community resource, and for the students to experience masterpieces of American art. Further, the students were encouraged to recognize the value of art in their daily lives.
Once students became familiar with the museum environment, they were comfortable to return to the Butler with their family and friends.
Participating schools include Bunn, Harding, McGuffey, Taft and Williamson elementary schools in Youngstown, Jefferson Kindergarten through Eighth Grade School in Warren and Dobbins Elementary School in Poland.