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Teachers take a new angle on art history, architecture

By RITA FARLOW
Published February 28, 2007


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Tommy Cooper pointed to two ceramic shaman sculptures in the pre-Columbian gallery of the Museum of Fine Arts and posed a question to his mentors.

"Since this guy looks more plain, and this guy is more decorative, could they be of different statures?" asked Cooper, 14, an eighth-grader at Thurgood Marshall Fundamental Middle School.

Osceola Fundamental High School seniors Marissa Rodriguez and Katherine Goulart, both 17, stepped up to the glass in the dimly lit room to take a better look.

Good observation, said Goulart. The idea shows that the significance of art is often "sociological, historical and political," Rodriguez added.

Rodriguez and Goulart were paired with Cooper and his fellow eighth-grader Jeffrey Hobby on a field trip last Thursday.

Osceola teacher John Stewart brought his advanced placement art history class to act as mentors to Thurgood Marshall gifted students who are taught by his wife, Sheila Stewart.

On their daylong field trip, the students also went to the Salvador Dali Museum, checked out stained glass windows at First United Methodist Church and looked at examples of Mediterranean Revival architecture at the Tramor cafeteria and the old YMCA building.

The trip served several purposes, said John Stewart. The older students were able to examine some of the buildings and artwork that they've studied throughout the year, and teaching the material to the younger students forced them to test their own knowledge.

For some, it was their first visit to the museums. "What I'm trying to do is to broaden their cultural views and horizons," Stewart said.

The middle school kids will use what they learned for an upcoming project where they will create two tombs to symbolize two cultures through the use of artifacts and iconography, Sheila Stewart said.

"Then they'll try to figure out what the culture is about, and they'll do it using certain elements like religious beliefs, art and aesthetic values.

They did projects before on some of the major religions of the world, but seeing it up close, it brings it home for them."

For the younger students, the trip also was a good way to learn about the county's only high school fundamental program.

[Last modified February 28, 2007, 01:54:19]


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