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Art through the eyes and voices of fourth-graders

Art through the eyes and voices of fourth-graders

April 13, 2016 // by MOCA Staff

“It is the best picture I have ever seen. This work of art makes me want to cry because it kind of looks like everybody is dancing beautifully like a swan.”

Beginning with a field trip to MOCA Jacksonville in January and culminating this Saturday, fourth-grader Vashti Lewis focused her attention on Robert Longo's Untitled (Men in Cities Series - Larry and Joanna). Though timid at first, Vashti confidently wrote an essay and read out loud into a microphone.

“This artwork is unique because most of the artwork at MOCA is not black and white. It is the best work I have ever seen. See you in the city!”

Robert Longo Untitled Men in Cities Series Larry and Joanna b
Robert Longo's Untitled (Men in Cities Series - Larry and Joanna) in MOCA Jacksonville's Permanent Collection.

Vashti is one of the students who participated in MOCA's Voice of the People, an innovative, literacy-based educational arts initiative that hones critical thinking and communication skills as it develops a deeper understanding of contemporary art. Voice of the People serves fourth-grade students at Title I schools. During several visits to MOCA, students are introduced to the Permanent Collection, from which they select works of art that speak to them. The students analyze the works, prepare descriptive narratives, and create recordings that serve as part of the Museum's audio guide, accessible to all those who visit the galleries and view the chosen works of art.

After eight weeks of work with the Museum's educators, MOCA celebrates the results of the spring session with Reynolds Lane Elementary School. Reynolds Lane is known for its diverse population, serving students from all over the world and is an English for Speakers of Other Languages center for Duval County Public Schools. Volunteers from Deutsche Bank helped mentor the children throughout the process.

At the Voice of the People Showcase on April 16, guests may listen to the students' audio interpretations, participate in hands-on art making activities, and enjoy refreshments, including a gigantic chocolate cake! The event is free and open to the public.

Since Voice of the People focuses on enhancing writing and literacy skills, the day's activities align with the program's goals. One activity, “It's All About Me,” prompts students to write their favorite movie, two things they're good at, and a favorite animal. Once completed, students can wear them around the Museum and the rest of the day with pride. Another activity is a spring-inspired bookmark that resembles a kite. Students choose their color palettes, color the kites, and assemble. The bookmark is perfect for summer book list reading.

Guests may explore the galleries to view Time ZonesIn Living ColorProject Atrium: Shinique SmithAmer Kobaslija: A Sense of Place, and Rock Paper Scissors. Don't forget to play in the hands-on area of the Art Explorium!

Voice of the People Awards b
Each student whose recorded essay is chosen to be an audio guide receives an award at the Voice of the People Showcase. Image courtesy of Elizabeth Miron.
Voice of the People Bookmark c
This kite bookmark is perfect for summer book list reading. Image courtesy of Elizabeth Miron.
Voice of the People Crown d
An "It’s All About Me" crown is a great way for Voice of the People students to celebrate their accomplishments. Image courtesy of Elizabeth Miron.




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