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I believe art museums are extremely valuable as a place for learning for any age; however, I feel that the experiences in learning about art history in conjunction with the context surrounding an art piece are extraordinarily formative to sparking curiosity and knowledge in K-12 minds. With my work as a tour guide at Stanford's Cantor Art Center and The Anderson Collection I have honed my skills in crafting interactive hour long tours where I was trusted to use my own discretion to choose art objects that connect to the theme of my tour. My philosophy when I lead a tour is to refrain from lecturing the entire time. Traditional tour guiding is the spewing of facts; however, I have found that people get more out of the experience when they interact, offer their own observations, and provide insight from their own personal experiences to the piece. Viewing art is not only about its historical context. The power of art is through the connections you make with it, and it is always a goal of mine to make sure every person on my tour feels engaged, and not intimidated by their lack of experience with art history. 

Palo Alto Spring (1878)

I was giving a spotlight talk on Thomas Hill's "Palo Alto Spring" in the Stanford Family Collection at Cantor Art Center. My favorite fact about the piece is that this was a scene of Leland Stanford Jr.'s 10th birthday party; however, this event was entirely fictional. The artist essentially painted people into the scene who weren't actually there.

Stanford Medical Student Tour at the Anderson Collection

The Stanford Medical School planned an art event celebration at the Anderson Collection for their med students and PAs. My tour style consisted of being stationed in a gallery, and having casual conversation about the artworks in that gallery with the students. Since I wasn't giving a regular tour, my strategy was to ask thought provoking questions to the students as they were quietly observing, and then that would naturally proceed into me sharing more background about the work as they became curious.

Watercolor Brush 17

Kindergarten Field Trip to the Anderson Collection

My fellow tour guides and I came together as a team to plan an interactive, activity-filled tour for 30 kindergarteners. We planned dance activities to teach about the physicality of Jackson Pollock's brushstrokes, we had the children design a shoe for a giant based on Elizabeth Murray's sculpture "This Pair," and finally we had the kids create their own frog food out of felt and tiny toy frogs. I was in charge of designing the Frog Food tour activity. My goal was for the children to creatively use their imaginations to make crazy food combinations in the fun and quirky way that Gilhooly would make his frog sculptures. 

Watercolor Brush 17
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