Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This is Your Brain on Art: Art & Science Collaborations

"Neon Brain X-rays"
Neon Brain X-Rays by Gyumin Hwang, 6th grade, College Station, TX. via Flickr



In the past I've written about the synthesis of science and art and how the two seemingly separate fields can inform each other, with incredible results. Whether we're adding an A for Art to the STEM subjects (that makes STEAM!) or looking at the artwork of Tauba Auerbach or Mel Chin, science and the arts make wonderful allies. Read on to learn about two collaborations capitalizing on this sometimes-symbiotic relationship between science and art. Both projects have some very exciting potential for arts advocacy, and for the world beyond, too.


Museum Receives Funding to Study Arts & Early Brain Development
Baltimore's Walters Art Museum was awarded a substantial planning grant to create museum programs that will research art's impact on cognitive development in preschool students. The Walters is partnering with the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University on the program, which will be called "Start with Art." The project received $50,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (a federal agency that supports, you guessed it, museums and libraries). IMLS awarded these funds through a grant program that utilizes museums and libraries to address school readiness. (A full list of grantees is at the IMLS website - worth noting that the Walters was the only visual art program.) I'm excited to see the research that comes out of this program, as it could be a boon to arts advocates, as well as the lucky kids who participate. More info on this program is at the Walters' website.


An Art & Science Museum Grows in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn, NY is home to thousands of artists, writers, and intellectuals (as well as me!). Now, a group in the neighborhood of Greenpoint is now hoping to capitalize on this wealth of talent to create a museum dedicated to science and art. The Brooklyn Science and Arts Museum's proposal describes a symbiotic approach to learning art and science. "The approach is for people to learn more about science with the application of art and to learn more about art through the application of science," says Susan Anderson, the board president of Town Square, the Brooklyn nonprofit proposing the Science and Arts Museum. As of now the museum is only a proposal but Anderson says she is eager to fundraise and find space for the museum. Read more on the proposal here.


Programming Note
The bad news: my day job (which I love) has made it challenging for me to post here as much as I want (which I hate). The good news: to remedy this problem I'll be posting shorter pieces that I think will be interesting, useful, or just fun for arts ed advocates and art teachers. I'm looking forward to spending more time here again and I hope you like the new format!