Education Department Receives Special Recognition and Grants

Laguna Art Museum’s Education Department Receives Special Recognition from AAMD, and Grants from the NEA and Festival of Arts Foundation

Laguna Art Museum’s Education Department recently received special recognition from The Association of Art Museum Directors. In addition the museum received grants from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Festival of Arts Foundation for its educational programming.
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The Association of Art Museum Directors (which represents 240 art museums across the United States, Canada, and Mexico) has released Next Practices in Art Museum Education, a resource that compiles information about AAMD member museums’ most innovative approaches to engaging the public with the arts through diverse learning opportunities. The publication features 100 case studies of next practices in educational programming that AAMD member museums have designed and implemented, and features Laguna Art Museum’s Young Artists Society Gallery. The resource underscores the many forms art museum education can take, and provides practical and inspiring ideas for future programming at institutions worldwide.

A recent exhibition of paintings in the Young Artists Society Gallery by students from the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

The Young Artists Society Gallery at Laguna Art Museum is located on the lower level of the museum’s gallery space and features artwork by K-12 students from Orange County schools and non-profit groups throughout the year. The rotation of shows coincides with the museum’s exhibition schedule, and student work is displayed in the same professional manner as art in the rest of the galleries. The museum’s Education Department collaborates closely with teachers to prepare for an exhibition, with student work based on—and inspired by—one of the other exhibitions on display at the museum at the same time.
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“At their core, museums are educational institutions that play a unique role in complementing and extending their regions’ educational resources for children, students, and adults,” said Chris Anagnos, Executive Director of AAMD. “With the publication of Next Practices, AAMD presents case studies of innovative educational programs developed by our members as a resource for the field, educators, civic leaders, and the public. Education is central to our field, and we are so pleased that Laguna Art Museum is committed to fostering innovative programming to engage and inspire the Orange County community.”
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In addition, the museum recently received two grants for its educational programming.
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The Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Foundation awarded the museum’s a $3,000 grant. The grant will aid the museum is presenting free educational programming such as docent-guided school tours; Kids’ Art Studio, a monthly hands-on art-making class for families; Imagination Celebration, an annual free day of art and activities for families; and the Young Artists Society Gallery.

Jim Denevan’s illuminated sand sculpture from Art & Nature 2013. Photo by Eric Stoner.

In addition, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced April 16 that Laguna Art Museum is one of 886 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. Laguna Art Museum is recommended for a $30,000 grant to support its 2014 Art & Nature initiative, culminating in a festival November 6-9.
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Laguna Art Museum’s Art & Nature initiative began in 2013 and is slated to be an annual event featuring exhibitions, events, and a weekend-long festival. This year the festival will take place November 6-9 at various locations throughout Laguna Beach and at the museum. Art & Natures serves a number of purposes: to provide a festival of art and ideas for the community; to inspire artists; to offer scientists a sense of what their work means in the wider culture; to find and develop connections between art and science; to raise awareness of environmental issues; and to celebrate Laguna Beach as a center for the appreciation of art and nature. The theme of Art & Nature speaks particularly to the identity of Laguna Beach, which for over a hundred years has been a center for art, the appreciation of nature, and environmental awareness. In 2013, Art & Nature featured nature-related exhibitions at Laguna Art Museum, land artist Jim Denevan, renowned scholar Kevin Starr, and a widely-attended family festival. Specific events and participants are still being planned for 2014.
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NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, “The NEA is pleased to announce that Laguna Art Museum is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation’s artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape.”
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“Laguna Art Museum is thrilled to have the support and recognition of the NEA for our Art & Nature initiative,” said Laguna Art Museum Deputy Director Ed Fosmire. “It’s a project that the NEA expressed interest in when we first approached them last year, so we are gratified that they have chosen to support the project financially. As a result, Laguna Art Museum will once again be able to partner with dozens of local organizations to reach out to the community and present a variety of programs exploring the intersection of art and nature.”
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Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts.  The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million.