The Wellin Museum of Art recently welcomed nearly 100 kindergarteners from the Clinton Central School District for a morning of arts education. The three classes that visited on June 7 and the two classes that came on June 9 worked with the Wellin educational staff consisting of Amber Spadea, the Andrew W. Mellon Educator for School and Community Programs, and a team of Hamilton College student docents including Anjanae Williams ’18, Elliot Nathan ’17, Julia Dailey ’18, and Reed Johnson ’18.
In a tour of Yun-Fei Ji: The Intimate Universe, the kindergarteners had a lot of fun looking at the mythical creatures Ji depicts in his intricate scrolls and relating them to objects that exist in real life. They also looked for other things that Ji depicts that are out of the ordinary and talked about the way he stylizes human figures in his work. Additionally, the students discussed the difference between fact and opinion. All of this helped to teach them about the various ways artists can choose to represent the world.
After touring the Yun-Fei Ji exhibition, the kindergarteners had a chance to create some abstract art. Student docents used prints from the permanent collection to lead a brief lesson on the importance of shape, color and line in abstract art. First, the kindergarteners used white crayon to draw sweeping overlapping lines on a piece of black construction paper. Then they colored figures they saw in the shapes made by the intersecting lines. Finding figures ranging from dogs to ice cream cones, the kindergarteners learned about how figures can remind us of “real life” objects while not literally depicting them.
This is the second year that the Wellin has welcomed kindergarteners from Clinton Central Schools for an end-of-year tour, and the event fits perfectly with the Wellin’s mission of being a teaching museum that engages with the local community. Students and teachers all left with big smiles on their faces, happy to have learned something and had fun while doing it.