A! Magazine for the Arts

WKMA welcomes Washington County schools back to Van Gogh

December 20, 2015

ABINGDON, VA– William King Museum of Art announces that in the 2015 school year, Washington County Virginia Public Schools is welcoming back the Van Gogh Outreach Program in second grade classrooms.

"It didn't make sense that we weren't accessible to the students in the county in which we're housed," says Director of Outreach Education Lori Rouse. Due to budgetary cuts, the Van Gogh Outreach Program was removed from Washington County's curriculum more than five years ago.

The Van Gogh Outreach Program brings art instruction directly to second-grade students in 12 school districts in Southwest Virginia, and third-grade classrooms in Russell County, reaching 176 classrooms and providing more than 15,000 contact hours with students. The Van Gogh service area includes more than 12,000 children. Washington County schools are receiving the program in 29 classrooms.

"The basic goal of Van Gogh itself is to show the children a different way of learning through integrating arts into the curriculum," says Rouse. Van Gogh's hands-on activities and lessons are based on the Virginia Standards of Learning in history, social studies and visual arts. By incorporating mapping, direct observations and measuring into many projects, the program is STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) oriented.

"We try our best to engage students in our service area. They visit the museum and see all of the wonderful things we do in-house. They see us at different events like the Abingdon Farmer's Market and participating in the Big Read, but now they see that we can come to them and help them learn in different, nontraditional ways," says Rouse.

The Van Gogh Outreach Program is available for expansion, both geographically and to additional grade levels. For complete information, contact Lori Rouse at lrouse@wkmuseum.org.