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Inside CSULB
Vol 57 No. 17 : October, 2005
Vol 57 No. 17 | Oct. 3, 2005

University Art Museum Secures Three Grants

Ilee Kaplan, associate director of the University Art Museum, received three grants this summer to support the UAM’s educational programs.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services granted $134,102, combined with $10,000 from the Dwight Stuart Youth Foundation, to support the school programs Eye to Eye/Ear to Ear Teen Docent Program and EnvisionArt, while the California Community Foundation awarded $38,061 to update and enhance the UAM’s Web site.

“We are thrilled and delighted to receive funding,” said Kaplan, a Long Beach resident who joined the university in 1984. “The Teen Docent Program, for example, is as big or small as we have funding. The more money we have, the more expansive we can make the program.”

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is an independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities. The institute fosters leadership, innovation and a lifetime of learning by supporting the nation’s 15,000 museums and 122,000 libraries and encourages partnerships to expand the educational benefit of libraries and museums. The Dwight Stuart Youth Foundation board of trustees is composed of the four sons and sister of the late Carnation heir Dwight Stuart. The mission of the foundation is to support organizations that provide direct services and experiences to underserved children and youth so they can gain the skills, values and confidence to achieve their potential.

The California Community Foundation has funded the future of Los Angeles since 1915. In partnership with its donors, the foundation supports nonprofit organizations and public institutions with funds for health and human services, affordable housing, early childhood education, community arts and culture and other areas of need.

The Teen Docent Program, Eye to Eye/Ear to Ear, works with art education students at CSULB and helps them train high school students to go into area schools to give presentations about the UAM’s exhibitions. The UAM’s education curator and the CSULB art education students work on a six-week training course for high school students to help them learn to develop lesson plans and how to tour exhibitions.

“The high school students visit middle and elementary schools to make presentations. The high school students and the museum’s own docent council conduct tours when these middle and elementary schools visit the UAM,” said Kaplan. “We have seniors and we have university, high school, middle school and elementary school students so we cover the whole range with this program. One of our goals is to introduce high school students to a university campus. Another is to enhance student career goals, presenting the arts as a possible career path and introducing art to younger children so that they have some sense of who we are as a museum and encourage them to visit exhibitions. Everyone gets a little something.”

The second funded program, EnvisionArt, focuses on developing critical thinking skills among third-to-fifth graders by discussing art. It is a discussion process where students learn to look at a work of art, see what’s there and use that evidence to develop their own ideas. It develops widely applicable skilling including building on one another’s ideas and defending their own.

“The IMLS grant will help the UAM to reach five schools,” she said. “The methodology has been developed for teachers without a background in art to help their students better understand the world of art. The ultimate goal is to get as many teachers as possible to learn this and use it in their classrooms. We are training our docents, who are all volunteers, to do this. It is a wonderful program that trains both educators and docents and, possibly, art education students to do the classroom work with the teacher.”

The money from the California Community Foundation will go to update and enhance the UAM Web site so that it can include archives of past exhibitions and works from the collection so that students can do research online.

“We try, especially as a contemporary art museum, to show the latest in design,” she said. “The Web site is our window to a huge community. We decided it was an important thing to work on.”

Kaplan thinks one reason for the triple funding this summer is the UAM’s level of achievement. “We have good ideas and we do a good job,” she said. “When we received grants in the past, we have been told that the UAM had the highest-ranked projects, which says to me that our programs are interesting, exciting and unique.”

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