My name is Chloe Napoletano and I am a dancer, teacher, community dance practitioner, and art administrator. I just graduated with a BFA in dance from The Ohio State University. My fellowship location is the Columbus Museum of Art – an institution that I have spent time in viewing their galleries as well as volunteering. I am the coordinator for the Summer Workshops; they are day camps for kids in which they explore art using their imaginations and practice creativity.
In this introductory week, I learned quite a bit about CMA’s philosophy; they have decided to put creativity at the forefront of learning. This means that they do not provide art classes that teach the techniques of painting or how to throw pottery. Instead, they give “big ideas” and provide material in which participants can solve problems creatively. I will share an example of what this looks like. Let’s say the big idea is “Monster Tea Party”, and to create a work inside that theme, a student decides she must create a dish set out of clay. If that is the case, then museum staff will teach her how to throw pottery and make dishes. The “technique” learning is in service to the creative ideas.
As a dance teacher, I found this philosophy fascinating! This is an idea I have put to practice in my own work but I have not used the same words to describe it. For example, when I lead a creative movement class, I may give a prompt to the class such as, “Travel from this location to the opposite side of the room. Both hands and both feed must remain in contact with the floor at all times.” In this example, I have not provided information on any technical dance skills like pointing one’s feet or sauté-ing off of the ground. Instead, I posed a problem and asked for the participants to individually find solutions. If while moving across the floor, I noticed a student using dangerous spinal alignment, then I may take a moment to address a technical aspect such as safe body alignment.
This perspective on art learning that CMA and I share gives me confidence that we have common goals and ideals. I am excited to further learn how this philosophy will come into play during the Summer Workshops.
Until next time,