April 18, 2024
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April 18, 2024
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Westchester Day School Looks at Modern Art

Learning to Look is an art history and art appreciation program which is presented to WDS students in grades k-five. The Learning to Look program is chaired and taught by parent volunteers. Last year, students studied American art from colonial times through the 1800s. This year, they are moving on to modern art, from the 1860s through the 1970s. The curriculum is set by Diane W. Darst, Ph.D., based on the Permanent Collection of The Museum of Modern Art.

The unit includes five sessions, with each one introducing students to a group of artists and designated paintings relevant to that period. Students are encouraged to explore the artist’s work by looking at the elements of art—color, line, shape, texture, light and space. So far, they have had two sessions, during which students have had the opportunity to explore “The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh, “The Sleeping Gypsy” by Henri Rousseau and “Three Musicians and Maya in a Sailor Suit” by Pablo Picasso.

During each session students are also given the opportunity to create their own works of art inspired by the master paintings discussed in their lesson. Students’ interpretive creations are part of a rotating art gallery each month that is displayed outside the main school office. Upcoming sessions will include Matisse, Chagall, Miró, Dali, Mondrian, Pollock and Calder. At the end of the modern art unit, students will take a field trip to the MOMA to view in person the artwork they studied all year long in class. There is nothing quite like viewing an artist’s masterpiece on display in real life!

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