Sometimes, it’s good to get kids out of the classroom, especially if you want them to have a hands-on, eyes-on experience. That’s why school buses line up outside the Perez Art Museum Miami every day. More than 45,000 students have toured the PAMM in the last two years, guided and taught by artists-in-residence at the museum.
"There really is no substitution for seeing art in person, to see the textures, to experience work that’s sometimes interactive, to walk through art, it’s just a whole other type of learning experience that you really can’t do sitting at a desk in a classroom and it contributes to the classroom experience,” said PAMM education director Marie Vickles.
We watched a large group of fourth graders from Myrtle Grove K-8 Center in Miami Gardens soak in all the museum has to offer.
"It is an exciting day because it’s something that many of them have never had the chance or the opportunity to come and see," said one of their teachers, Carla Williams. "Paper and pencil, yes, that’s great but sometimes you need that outlet where you can do other things."
The kids are learning not just what it takes to be an artist, but to appreciate art, too. It’s one of the primary missions of the museum.
“I think it helps to foster critical thinking, it helps to connect the dots across many different subject areas,” Vickles said, talking about the benefits of the experience students get on these field trips.
The kids didn’t expect to learn lessons in science, math, and social studies at the art museum, but they did. They also got a boost in confidence, with several students saying they were looking forward to making their own art works.
At this age, the fourth graders are like a blank canvas. The experience they had at the PAMM can certainly help fill in the picture.