Field trip.  Those two words were music to my ears when I was in school, as they probably still are to most kids who are lucky enough to hear them these days.  For me it meant not only getting away from the monotony of the school day, but more often than not getting to experience something new and different: a museum, a musical performance, a zoo, etc.  But as most people are all too familiar with these days, budgets for education are being slashed across the country.  I have a feeling those two magical words are being heard less and less as each year passes.

With teachers in the arts facing layoffs across the country (check out these examples in New York and Chicago), it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ensure students are getting their fair share of the arts, and undoubtedly that means field trips centered around the arts are going out the window.  While we are advocating for school boards, city councils, state legislatures, and the federal government to not only keep arts education funding, but increase it, teachers are forced to get creative (luckily they had an arts education, right?) with exposing their students to the arts. Interestingly, Google recently launched the Google Art Project, essentially an interactive “Street View” of art museums from around the world that allows users to study a museum’s collection up close, find out about its history, and experience the museum as if they were there.   While technology will never match the experience of actually standing in the Louvre, or seeing your first Van Gogh in person, it’s a pretty incredible alternative and, if you haven’t had the chance to explore it yet, I’d encourage you to check it out for yourself.

What are some other ways teachers can get creative with exposing their students to the arts during the budget crunch?

One Response to “A Field Trip to the Art Museum Without Leaving the Classroom”

  1. Gary Steuer says:

    Yes, with looming education budget cuts, field trips may be a challenged item, and arts field trips will suffer. Of course, massive cuts in arts teachers (as appear to be looming in Philadelphia) are potentially devastating. A great program at the Philadelphia Museum of Art uses pretty sophisticated technology to do distance learning for school groups. (http://www.philamuseum.org/education/32-128-195.html) Sadly the capacity to do such “virtual class trips” may become more important.

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Alec Baldwin and Nigel Lythgoe talk about the state of the arts in America at Arts Advocacy Day 2012. The acclaimed actor and famed producer discuss arts education and what inspires them.