Art History 101 – A Monthly Dose to Boost Cultural Health

By: Andrew McGivern, curator of exhibitions on March 9th, 2011

Last summer the Woodson Art Museum added a regular dose of art history to our events lineup. These noon-hour programs are designed to feature a different artist whose work complements the exhibition on view. That style then is woven into the hands-on projects planned for children in monthly Little Masters and Young Artists classes.

Isamu Noguchi in Paris 1920s

In December, we added an evening art history component to the mix. Adults gather for Art History 101, 5:30 – 6:30 pm, and all ages drop in for Hands-on Art, 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Again, the topic ties both programs together. For example, last Thursday I presented a PowerPoint program about Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Across the hall, curator of education Jayna Hintz helped 35 participants make string lamps inspired by Noguchi’s Akari lamps.

Akari lamps
During Art History 101: Isamu Noguchi, I played an Archives of American Art audio interview of Noguchi discussing his experiences in Paris in the 1920s. With YouTube at my disposal, I could show short video clips of curators discussing the artist’s work, video footage of one of the artist’s sculpture parks in Japan, and a video tour of the Noguchi Museum in Queens, New York. I concluded my program with a short video of a man demonstrating the old-world way of making an Akari paper lantern.

Noguchi and “Energy Void” 1971
Noguchi Garden Museum, Japan

 If you’re interested in expanding your art history knowledge and understanding, join us the first Thursday evening of every month or attend a midday repeat of the same program at 12:15 – 1 pm on the third Wednesday of every month. Check our Calendar of Events at, for details about Museum programs for all ages.

Noguchi table

Here’s to your Cultural health! Make a date to bolster your knowledge of art history with a noon-time or evening monthly dose of Art History 101.

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