Getty Brings Art Education into the Virtual Classroom

Getty Brings Art Education into the Virtual Classroom

If your K-12 class can’t come to the Getty this year, the Getty will come to you.

Following the success of a virtual pilot program this summer with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Inner-City Education Foundation (ICEF), the Getty Education team has expanded the program to additional school districts and homeschool networks in Southern California.

Getty Virtual Explorations is an interactive, collection-based, object-focused experience with students. The program uses a discovery- and inquiry-based approach to teaching, and was created to provide arts education in the virtual classroom. Using Zoom, Getty is also able to extend its reach both locally and globally, opening new doors and connecting with future visitors. Reservations for the program open on September 8.

Over the summer, twelve teachers and 1,400 LAUSD students in grades K-6 joined Getty educators for interactive lessons ranging from mindfulness to curatorial studies. Getting Creative with Visual Arts provided close-looking exercises and conversations to connect with works of art in the Getty collection; and Mindfulness, Art, and Fitness used the Inner Explorer and I Am Present apps and taught students how to focus on their physical and mental health thrion from idea, to object checklist and design layout, to a public opening.

“Since young learners are spending so much of their summers indoors, we focused on landscape paintings—images of wide-open spaces and natural places,” said Getty educator David Bowles about working with students on mindfulness. “We found that in addition to close-looking and critical thinking skills, students shared experiences of quarantine, longings for missing friends and loved ones, and their visions for a world that comes after COVID-19.”

This school year, Getty Virtual Explorations will continue to focus on close-looking, analysis, discovery, dialogue, and embodiment to empower students to look at and interpret art in new, unique ways that leverage the available technology.

“Getty educators believe that the interpretation of art strengthens perception, expression, and imagination, and develops the skills to describe and analyze what one perceives,” said Getty educator Lisa Davis. “The online classroom setting is a communal one, and community art experiences can increase understanding not just of art, but of one’s self and others, offering balanced experiences that benefit the collective psychology. We believe that the students of Los Angeles are the number-one priority of the greater community at large, and we are delighted to offer what we do best as a part of students’ experience in these new times.”

While the classes are virtual, interactive teaching still focuses on the students. Educators work to foster connections with the virtual community outside the walls of the museum, build empathy through conversation, and keep art alive for students during this time of limited social interaction.

“It was really touching to witness the students take some time out from their school day at home to close their eyes, take deep breaths together, and reflect on paintings from our collection,” said Getty educator Laura Lewis.

Learn more about the program and reserve your classroom’s spot here.