Valley Kids out of art museum, but not valley
October 27, 2005
The Valley Kids art exhibit is leaving the Aspen Art Museum but will not be gone from the valley. Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, director and chief curator of the art museum, received a phone call Thursday from Sinda Wood of the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, seeking approval for the Glenwood venue to take over the show, with the name intact.”And I said sure,” said Jacobson, whose recent announcement that the museum would discontinue the long-running Valley Kids exhibit drew much fire, as well as some praise. “I think Valley Kids is a fantastic opportunity for kids to show their art. But the Aspen Art Museum at this point in our history is not the appropriate venue. We’ve made the choice to allocate our resources in a way that is more productive and fruitful for the kids in the valley.”
Jacobson and her staff will devote their energy to the new program, Young Curators of the Roaring Fork Valley. That program will have children ages 13-18 from around the region work with artists, curators and museum professionals to learn all phases of creating an art exhibit. The free program, still being formulated, will result in an exhibit, Young Curators and Artists of the Roaring Fork. It is set for the middle of spring, the slot reserved in the past for Valley Kids. The new show, however, will be at Aspen Meadows’ Kresge Building, rather than the museum.”The idea of the program is to empower students to use visual literacy and analysis skills,” said Jacobson, a mother of two young children who began working at the Aspen Art Museum this summer. “We want people to feel empowered to have an opinion not just on our exhibitions, but on the increasing visual component of contemporary society. We want to educate people not to just consume what is being put forward, but to ask questions about what they see and make decisions about images.”Participants in the Young Curators show will be given the suggestion to work with their peers, meaning the show is likely to consist of art by teenagers. Jacobson added that it would just be a recommendation, and that the curators might choose to work with younger children or adults. The participants will also put out a call for submissions to art teachers in the region and will come up with a theme for the show.In the wake of a meeting of museum staff and some 25 local art instructors Wednesday night in Basalt, the museum made some additional announcements regarding children’s programs.
The museum is instituting Free Family Saturdays, an idea that came directly out of the meeting. Parents will be able to bring kids to the museum for free, and the museum will provide “art carts” with supplies for families to do projects inspired by what they see at the museum. “ArtMaps” will guide the young visitors through the exhibitions and teach them about the art.Also announced was an internship program, which Jacobson said had already been planned. The program will educate high school students about contemporary art and will teach them how to instruct other students about the work.The museum also plans to reinforce its current school outreach programs of providing transportation for classes to the museum and offering improved after-school art classes. In addition, the museum hopes to institute programs that would bring curators, museum docents and artists to area schools.
“We want to bring more art to the kids, and more kids to the art,” Jacobson said.The museum will feature two new programs in its galleries during the spring. Four Thursday Nights will feature four presentations of video or film work, with the public invited to pull up a chair, eat some popcorn and enjoy something akin to a night at the movies. Two of the video artists are scheduled to attend their screenings and engage in discussions about the work.Also, Venezuelan artist Javier Téllez will turn the other gallery into an open studio, where the public can watch and possibly even participate in his project. Téllez is planning to collaborate with residents of a Colorado mental institution to make a Western film, which will be shown at the museum in August.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org