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Speaking the Language of Art

Members of the Literacy Council of Benton County Language of Art program in a discussion in the Museum gallery.

Members of the Literacy Council of Benton County Language of Art program in a discussion in the Museum gallery.

Ozark Literacy Council members of the Language of Art program pose for a group photo on the Museum's Walker Landing.

Ozark Literacy Council members of the Language of Art program pose for a group photo on the Museum’s Walker Landing.

The Museum’s Access and Inclusive Programs division collaborates with individuals and organizations in the community to develop dynamic and inclusive Museum experiences, including a series of programs with adult English language learners and local literacy councils.  Students at Ozark Literacy Council in Fayetteville and Literacy Council of Benton County in Bentonville visit the Museum regularly to practice English speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills by exploring works of art through communal dialogue and activities.  Volunteer tutors attend with students and incorporate learned vocabulary and shared knowledge from the Museum experience into future tutoring sessions.  Pinnacle Car Services sponsors transportation to and from the Museum for Ozark Literacy Council students.

Below three participants share their experiences and the program’s impact on them.  Veronica Flores is from Mexico and has lived in the US for five years, Kat Ran is from China and has lived in the US for two years, and Alejandra Flores (no relation to Veronica) is from Mexico and has lived in the US for three years.

Why did you want to be a part of this program with Crystal Bridges?

Veronica Flores

Veronica Flores

Veronica: Because I like art so much, and I want to learn to interpret most of the different kinds of art, I have had the opportunity to travel to different cities in different countries, and museums are always on the top of my family’s to go list.

Kat Ran

Kat Ran

Kat: I was interested in art talks.  It’s a wonderful way to appreciate art works and to practice my English as well.

Alejandra:        I loved the place since the very first time I went and I thought it would be a great idea to learn more about the collections, the place and the people who works there. Besides I’m a photographer and I think I can find inspiration in every little thing, most of all if it is related with art.

Members of the Literacy Council of Benton County Language of Art program in a discussion in the Museum gallery.

Members of the Literacy Council of Benton County Language of Art program in a discussion in the Museum gallery.

What have you learned from the program?

Veronica: I have learned that a person’s interpretation of art can be influenced greatly by their feelings, and that the same person can see different things in the same painting on different days, also that culture can really influence our interpretation of art. In addition, I learned there is not bad or good appreciation, only different kinds. Kat:                  I learned how to appreciate arts.  Through our practice of art talks, I’ve gotten known that appreciation doesn’t mean to remember the facts of works but to build connections to the works. Alejandra:        I have learned that there are feelings involved in every painting, even in the ones I didn’t think so, to give a second look to find something new, to see how the lighting can change a place, to look from different perspectives to find something new in the same thing.

Alejandra Flores

Alejandra Flores

How has this experience impacted you? Veronica: This class has showed me a higher appreciation for little details in art and life, and to look more closely for meaning wherever I go. Kat:  After this experience, every time when I looked at an art work I began to automatically ask myself these questions: What do I see?  What does that make me think?  What does it make me wonder? Alejandra:        Now I’m always looking for the lighting and also looking for new and different perspectives for my pictures. I can not look at the paintings without thinking more about what does the author wanted to tell us?? What was he/she doing (besides the painting)?? How do I feel when I look at it?? I need to ask my children what do they see in the painting, what they think is happening there, what they feel….sometimes this responses can give me more information about them and their feelings.

For more information about this and other Access and Inclusive Programs, contact Amanda Driver at 479-418-5724 or [email protected].

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