The William D. Cannon Art Gallery's Three-Part-Art program is an educational outreach program designed to introduce elementary school students from the City of Carlsbad, especially third- and fourth-graders, to the experience of interacting with and learning from original works of art in a museum setting. The children begin to learn some of the basics of the art vocabulary, and most importantly, that museums can be welcoming places to learn in new and exciting ways.
Here's how the multi-pronged program works. Before each school year begins, the gallery curator and arts education coordinator work together to identify the upcoming exhibitions that might be particularly resonant, appropriate or engaging for students in third and fourth grades.
During the year, approximately 4,600 students and 1,100 adults take part in the program, with more than 300 resource guides distributed to area teachers.
The arts education coordinator sends a letter out to all elementary teachers serving Carlsbad residents, informing them about the program. Interested teachers then call 760-434-2901 to make a reservation. After registering for the program, the teacher is sent a confirmation notice and a resource guide that includes background information about the exhibition's topic or theme as well as related hands-on activities for use in the classroom. This resource guide is not only related to the specific exhibition, it also ties into the California State Department of Education Visual and Performing Arts Standards and the current elementary school curriculum. Using the curriculum guide in class, the teacher prepares the students for their upcoming visit to the gallery.
School children, with their teachers and a number of accompanying parents, come for a tour of the exhibition in the gallery - an important interaction with original works of art in a professional museum setting. During their tour, they are guided by a trained artist/educator who not only discusses various ideas with the students, but involves them in some type of interactive gallery activity.
School children, led by a different artist/instructor, then move to the adjoining community room to do a hands-on art activity related to the ideas, themes or art techniques that were just discussed in the gallery tour. This gives the students the opportunity to experience various art-making materials and techniques, and reinforces the lessons they just learned about during their gallery tour.