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Teachers explore Wexner Center for the Arts exhibits, consider incorporating works into lesson plans

Nen Lin Soo / Lantern Photographer

Central Ohio teachers gathered at the Wexner Center for the Arts for a tour with the hopes of including the exhibits in their lesson plans at their respective schools.
“I think it’s just a great way for teachers to become more comfortable in the galleries, but then also to help them to find curricular connections to some of the themes that the artists are exploring in their work,” said Tracie McCambridge, the educator for the Docent and Teacher Program at the Wexner Center.
Teachers from all grade levels and disciplines were invited to attend the tour and discussion Tuesday. However, this tour’s attendance was predominantly art teachers.
Contemporary art is “universal,” McCambridge said. She added that preschoolers could look at a photo, for example, and talk about portraiture, or high school students can look at the same photo and talk about American history.  
Michelle Alder, an art teacher at Champion Middle School in Warren, Ohio, said she liked the tour because it allowed her to view contemporary art that she might not have known how to access otherwise.
She said she liked the exhibit called “More American Photographs,” which shows images from the Great Depression alongside modern images of economically depressed areas. Alder said it had potential to help her teach her students about history as well as art.
“I think (‘More American Photographs’) is really valid because it’s a really heavily connected topic between the social studies class and the art class, so that could be a really rich way to marry the two,” Alder said.
“More American Photographs” is running through April 7 at the Wexner Center’s Gallery D.
Peter Ford, who teaches art at John Burroughs and Sullivant elementary schools in Columbus, was also pleased with the tour.  
“I like to continue my education, and as long as I’m out in the community and doing new things, I feel like I can bring new things to my students,” Ford said.  
Another benefit to taking a tour of the Wexner Center, Ford said, was that he could tell his students about the Wexner Center in general. While his schools used to take field trips to art museums, budget cuts have prevented them from taking those trips in recent years, Ford said.
He said he hopes his students will go to art museums on their own if he tells them about them in class.  
Kyle Hatfield, a second-year in art management, and student assistant for the Wexner Center, said he thought the teacher tour of the Wexner was a good idea because it would expand the audience of the museum.  
“It would bring some more students from high schools to the Wex and just educate them about what’s going on here and maybe get them interested in other art and other galleries,” Hatfield said. 

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