Engaging the Community
With a grant from the City of Chico, the Museum of Northern California Art's (monca's) volunteer docents are making fine art part of the elementary school experience.
Families taking photos in the Nest
Field Trip to the Library
Driving Docents Teaching a Class
Families and children are an important part of monca. With children, it is not only what happens inside the museum, but also what happens outside the museum.
Inside the museum children are often mesmerized by our exhibitions, Tend and Trapeze Acrobats are great examples. So many families took their picture in the “nest.” And for Easter elements within the art were used for a treasure hunt, ”Find the Dolls and the Dogs” in the art, the exhibit was so right for it.
Children come with their families and come with their classes. But children do not just come to “look,” that’s not children; they also come to participate. And there is nothing like the look of delight on the face of a child when given a crayon, a paint brush and a piece of paper to create a work of art all on their own. A great example: Art and the Word: Visual Art and Literacy Summer Program and Art Kits for Kids.
Outside the museum,
· Driving Docents travel primarily to third grade classrooms with works of art from monca’s permanent collection; teach a lesson that explores how artwork is created through a discussion of the artist, the medium, and techniques; and finally provide a hands-on lesson to practice what they learned. Third grade classrooms are primarily visited but a lesson can be adjusted for most any grade.
· Field Trips – groups visiting monca are encouraged. Students are taken on a guided tour of the space and the exhibition before spending time creating their own work of art.
· Visits to artists’ studios. A high school program that takes students into an artist’s studio for the day where they experience the creation of artwork firsthand. monca provides lunch and they are given bound sketchbooks and markers to encourage art making as a career not simply a hobby.
· Fairs: monca exhibits at fairs that are primarily for children, example the Science Fair, Explorer’s Faire
· The “monca bus” delivers our docents and art to schools, senior centers, kids clubs, homeless shelters, juvenile halls, and community events.
Kids enjoying Exhibition Map It Out
monca’s mission is achieved by keeping all options on the table. All kinds of spaces and situations can offer an opportunity to experience art. By engaging diverse community members in our planning we think creatively about nontraditional ways to share art with northern Californians. Send us your ideas about how and where to connect with you, and we’ll add it to our growing list of strategies.
In our first year as a new organization monca purchased a small school bus and created the Mobile Museum as the initial “vehicle” for accomplishing our mission. Through this investment, our volunteer Driving Docents bring original art and creative activities to many venues, including schools, senior centers, kids clubs, homeless shelters, juvenile hall, and community events. We strive to educate the public about both Northern California art and the museum itself, with a special emphasis on reaching out to communities that have been typically unreached by arts nonprofits.
With funding from a City of Chico Grant, monca held its first of two “Lunch with an Artist” days in 2013. Two serious art students from each of the four high schools were chosen by their art teachers to participate. They were taken to the artist’s studio where there was a tour, conversation about art as a career and lunch. During one session with local artist Dylan Tellesen the students were also able to actively participate in a wall mural at the CSU Graduate Studios. monca is continuing to expand these programs, as well as finding new and exciting ways to bring art and our community together.