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New Classroom and Studio Space Enhance Art Program at UW

September 18, 2015
people wandering around large room
Patrons enjoy the UW Art Museum’s new classroom and studio space. (UW Photo)

A new classroom and studio at the University of Wyoming Art Museum will expand learning opportunities for students and teachers from around the state.

The facility enhances inquiry-based education programs that serve 10,000 students and teachers from around the state who visit the museum annually.

“Learning through the arts enhances a child’s development of motor skills, language, visual learning, literacy, inventiveness and cultural awareness,” says Susan Moldenhauer, the museum’s director and chief curator. She cites an Americans for the Arts report showing that the arts strengthen problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

“These skills enhance an individual’s journey from child to adult and are critical for success,” Moldenhauer says.

The space that functions as a classroom and studio is funded by private donations. Located on the first level of the Centennial Complex, and accessible through the lower lobby entrance, the area that will function as the new museum classroom and studio was made possible by a public-private relationship between UW and donors, including Phyllis Shelton, Dick and Judy Agee, Pat Guthrie, the Mary Storer Foundation, Union Wireless, Rocky Mountain Power and Jayne Dooley.

“Through the generosity of our donors and the support of the University of Wyoming, we are now able to more appropriately and safely provide essential deep learning experiences and art-making for all who will use this new space,” Moldenhauer says.

“We are thankful for the donors who understand that art education is an important part of developing well-rounded students,” says UW President Dick McGinity. “The Art Museum’s new classroom and studio will allow students to take the theory they learn in the classroom and apply it to other areas of their education and life. It will help better prepare them for future success.”

All of the Art Museum’s education programs place art at the center of learning. These include the Pre-School Initiative; Museum Tour Program, which provides K-12 students and teachers with arts-integrated programs that address content area standards such as language arts, science, social studies and math; the After School Enrichment Program in partnership with the Albany County School District; and the Summer Teaching Institute, which offers professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers.

“The Art Museum’s exhibitions and programs are tremendous and reach all four corners of our great state,” says Kathryn Boswell, from Cheyenne, chair of the Museum’s National Advisory Board. “The board is grateful for the staff and donors that are committed to our exemplary museum and look forward to hearing the voices and laughter of students learning in this new space.”

Speakers at the recent dedication were Moldenhauer, Boswell, Heather Bender, master teacher at the UW Art Museum; and UW Trustee Dave Bostrom. The ribbon-cutting was followed by the Art Museum’s fall exhibition reception celebrating new exhibitions for the semester.

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