Interview with Megan Lucas, Freelance Museum Educator

CultureChild: Teaching Children About Art

Sunday, I chatted with Megan Lucas, a freelance educator for the Family Programs at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), during a visit with my daughter to the museum’s Material Lab.  Here are a few excerpts from our conversation.

CultureChild:  Why is it important to teach children about art?

Megan:  Teaching children about art helps them realize things about themselves, their surroundings and others. I find that children develop their own lenses by observing how artists use theirs. By observing the artwork of others, children can reflect on themselves and their surroundings. Through our Family Programs, family members can come to these realizations collectively.

In MoMA’s Family Art Workshop for Picasso: Guitars 1912-1914, we help children understand Picasso’s lens by asking them to think about an everyday object that has personal significance and what the object represents to them.   To Picasso, the guitars in his work symbolize Spain and his love of music.

CultureChild: Do you know of any research that connects children learning about art to their personal development?

Megan:  The Guggenheim Museum’s Learning Through Art program (LTA) conducted and published research linking art education to the development of literacy and critical thinking skills.  The Guggenheim Museum recently published another study about how observation and art-making enhance problem-solving skills.

CultureChild: In addition to the MoMA’s Family Art Workshops, how can parents help children engage with art?

Megan: 

Parents and children can visit museum galleries without taking tours. When parents ask open-ended questions and encourage reflection and close analysis of art works, family members of all ages can hone their critical thinking skills while thinking and looking at art, side by side as a family.

In addition, all of the objects in the Material Lab are designed to teach children about the works in the museum’s collection, to encourage them to interact with art and to inspire creativity.

About Megan: Megan Lucas currently works as a freelance museum educator teaching school programs at the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, as well as family programs at MoMA.  She recently received her Master in Education in art education with a focus in museum education from Teachers College at Columbia University. Megan also holds a Master of Arts in art education from Teachers College, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in fine arts from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio.  In addition to teaching, she also enjoys drawing, painting and printmaking.