Learning on All Levels

woman working with small children at a table creating art
Master Teacher Emily Conner in the classroom studio with young artists.

The UW Art Museum offers programming for all ages. 

By Michelle Sunset, Curator 

University of Wyoming Art Museum Master Teacher Emily Conner orchestrates arts learning opportunities for artists working at all levels, from pre–K through post-grad. While Conner’s focus is leading pre–K through 12th grade field trips to the museum from Albany County and beyond, she and her team accomplish much more than that. Conner leads four teaching artists who assist in designing and implementing the museum’s suite of four recurring programs, each with a distinct target audience. Art Buffet is an intergenerational family program once per month, TOAST (teen open art studio time) is for teens once per week, Art Explorers is for pre–K learners, and Art Connect is an elementary-level afterschool program integrating art and literacy. 

The teaching artists, under Conner’s supervision, each take ownership of one of the programs, though the team is highly collaborative. Mentoring the teaching artists is one of Connor’s favorite roles at the Art Museum. She says they are “really receptive to feedback, phenomenally collaborative and creative.” Conner adds that she is “excited by the fresh ideas they bring to the table.” Her passion for mentoring these emerging professionals trickles down throughout the work this team accomplishes. In 2022, it hosted over 1,300 pre–K through 12th grade students on field trips, 160 high-schoolers in UW’s pre-college residential summer programs, and 574 participants in intergenerational programming.

Additionally, the team hosts pre-service teachers gaining practicum hours in UW’s art education program in the Department of Visual Arts. These highly capable students work alongside teaching artists to gain experience leading children and families in an art museum classroom setting. Through the College of Education, Conner also teaches the course Art in the Elementary Classroom, in which she instructs pre-service elementary school teachers about art integration methods for math, science, language arts and social studies. One of Conner’s favorite activities from this course is a trip to the Williams Conservatory on campus. During this field trip, students apply “close looking” techniques learned in the Art Museum’s galleries to observe botanicals and to investigate how they can integrate these strategies and artmaking into science lessons in their future classrooms.

Conner and the teaching artists also serve young artists in the community through the Art Museum’s annual summer camp. They develop engaging art-making activities related to exhibitions on view in the Art Museum, so each year is different. In 2022, the team engaged 57 students aged 6–13 in three summer camp sessions. Conner and the education department at the Art Museum provide important opportunities for learners to practice close observation of artwork, analysis and meaning-making through in-gallery discussion and hands-on art making. Her passion for working with school-aged children and mentoring emerging teachers furthers the Art Museum’s mission to share in the transformative power of art. To be inspired by the team of teaching artists, be on the lookout for upcoming programs for learners of all ages!

Contact Us

Institutional Communications
Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307) 766-2929
Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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