Thanks to the passion of a Cincinnati community volunteer every fourth-grade student in the Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) district will soon visit the Cincinnati Art Museum once per year. This program ensures that about 3,000 children in the region have access to multiple arts opportunities.
Florence (Flo) Koetters, a former Cincinnati Art Museum docent and active community volunteer and donor, collaborated with the Cincinnati Art Museum's Learning & Interpretation division to create this program to provide yearly museum tours and art-making experiences for CPS students.
The program begins January 4, 2021 and will continue each school year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first year will include a virtual field trip experience, which will guide students through Cincinnati Art Museum’s Cincinnati Wing, a uniquely local part of the permanent collection and the first permanent display of a city's art history in the nation.
To accommodate students learning from home, museum staff will provide supplies for art-making projects for each student. The curriculum for this project connects the fourth-grade unit of study on Ohio history, the museum's Cincinnati Wing, and artmaking inspired by Rookwood Pottery, a living piece of local history.
"I love the museum and wanted to do my part to help engage these young minds and help them understand the wonders and history of our community. Exploring the Cincinnati Wing with docents will provide a critical view of what made Cincinnati so famous for its industry, education, and the arts. And the hands-on art projects associated with these tours will bring their experience to life," said Koetters.
The Cincinnati Art Museum and CPS have a long history. Since the early 1920s, the museum has provided school tours of its collection and special exhibitions to students attending the district's schools. The museum's Docent Corps formed in 1960 to provide school tours for CPS fourth graders in world history.
"The Cincinnati Art Museum and the Cincinnati Public Schools have always been great partners. It has always been a joy to engage with CPS teachers and students. Through this generous gift, we are breaking down barriers and engaging with the next generation of art lovers and patrons," said Emily Holtrop, Cincinnati Art Museum's Director of Learning & Interpretation.
To coordinate the program, the Cincinnati Art Museum has hired Alexa Ramirez, a Cincinnatian who graduated from the DAAP School of Art at the University of Cincinnati. A multidisciplinary artist, she previously worked in education at the Contemporary Arts Center.