Beginning in 2008, the Museumís Artist in Residence (AIR) has been a feature year-long
program at area schools providing arts integration for teachers, staff and students
in Kindergarten through 5th grade (how the visual arts functions
across the curriculum.) Despite the need for more funding, the Museum has made
headway implementing this unique and useful program at Plumosa School of the
Arts in Delray Beach (2009-10) and Hammock Pointe Elementary School in Boca
Raton (2008 and 2010-11.)
Artist in Residence program features Catalina Aguirre Hoffman as the Artist in
Residence and Lauren Shapiro as the Assistant Artist in Residence, both of whom
teach the art studio class twice a week during the school year at the host
school. They work on campus in a classroom dedicated to the AIR program
provided by the host school. Matching the curriculum with the art in the Museumís Permanent Collection, the Education
Department then chooses the works of art to be used as inspiration for the
program. Museum lesson plans are
supplied to the teacher to reinforce and extend the art studio experience back
into the classroom.
AIR integrates visual arts instruction with the current grade-level curriculum
in content areas such as math, science, social studies and language arts. For example,
if a teacher is covering African history in her classroom the Museum provides
lessons plans to the teachers that are from the Museumís African collection.
These masks in the Museumís collection serve as models from which the students
can draw inspiration for their own creations as well as offer primary source
material for their studies.
Art can be integrated into the classroom in other ways as well; it neednít only be
for art projects. For example, an abstract artwork can be used to display the
varied degrees of angles (30į, 45į, 90į) in a math class.
scientific method can be taught through art. During the third grade classroom project,
Museum staff will reinforce states of matter via the process of chemical change.
They will be given a lump of clay to weigh as their base measure. Then, the
students will mold the clay and weigh again to observe any change after adding
to or subtracting from the initial piece of clay. Finally, they will fire the
clay in the oven and again weigh it, noting any difference after the chemical
change. These results will be charted on a graph to illustrate the concepts of
observation, hypothesis, prediction, experimentation and conclusion. As you can
see, art can truly be considered a crossover subject.
When finished, the studentsí art creations are installed on the school
grounds. Usually, each gradeís pieces are placed in different areas of the
school, from the cafeteria to the principalís office or throughout the
As an added bonus, the AIR program is very earth conscious. Many of the items used
are recycled items, which mean many have been rescued from area landfills. In
fact, this point is illustrated by weighing the items used and then converting the
sum into cubic feet and pounds so that the students can get a concrete idea of
what has been saved from the rubbish heap.
Because some of the materials used are common household items, it is also
easy for the kids to recreate the projects at home and the materials are
relatively inexpensive. The program has benefited from generous benefactors but
clearly with additional funding, the Museum can strengthen and further expand
its educational programs. While the public schools themselves pay nothing for
this vital partnership, they provide an opportunity for the Museum to connect
with the youth in our community. As our mission states, the Boca Raton Museum
of Artís goal is to ďenhance...the understanding of the visual arts...through
the acquisition and maintenance of a permanent collection...Ē And what better way to do that than to take visual arts instruction directly into the classroom?