As part of its mission to bring vital, investigative and scholarly exhibitions to the Tampa Bay area, the USF Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) has developed an innovative web-based visual literacy program that integrates social studies and contemporary art in an examination and discussion of critical societal issues. The specially designed curriculum is introduced to local high school teachers through a workshop where they are given a tour of the exhibition and a featured artist gives a private talk. In addition, all of the lesson plans and curricular materials are provided free online for anyone to use.
Artist Claire Pentecost gives a talk to teachers participating in the eighth edition of the InsideART workshop at Graphicstudio.
InsideART was created by Noel Smith, Curator of Latin American and Caribbean Art for the Institute for Research in Art, and Dr. Bárbara C. Cruz, Professor of Social Science Education for the USF College of Education. It is a continuing collaboration between faculty and staff in the USF Institute for Research in Art, the USF College of Education and the School District of Hillsborough County. Lesson plans and curriculum have been designed to meet Visual Arts and Social Studies curriculum standards as well as Florida Common Core standards.
Claire Pentecost. soil-erg, 2016. CAM installation view of the exhibition Extracted
Now occurring twice a year and coinciding with each major exhibition at CAM, the Institute for Research in Art (IRA) invites art and social studies teachers from high schools throughout Hillsborough County Public Schools to come to a one-day workshop. IRA pays for the cost of substitute teachers, and the teachers are brought to Graphicstudio to participate in a group discussion and workshop. The teachers go to CAM, where a curator-led tour gives them a deeper understanding of the issues addressed in the exhibition. An artist from the exhibition is brought in to give a presentation to the teachers, further exploring the ideas expressed through their art. Teachers receive all of the materials from the lesson plans in hard copy and on a CD.
Ramón Esono Ebalé with students at Jefferson High School for the third edition of InsideART
These same instructional materials can be accessed by anyone on the InsideART website. A variety of technologies including video, web-based dialogues, social media, Powerpoint presentations and supplementary materials allow any educator to work with the art and ideas presented from CAM’s temporary exhibitions, whether or not they have are able to visit the museum. InsideART presents critical issues to students and invites them to engage and connect with these issues in the context of contemporary art. By exploring art that encompasses a variety of relevant topics, students are allowed to move from the role of spectator to that of engaged viewer and then participant, and encouraged to build interpretive skills vital to success in learning. Rich in dynamic and informative content, InsideART serves as both an excellent supplement to museum visits and as an effective stand-alone educational unit.
Ramón Esono Ebalé, Bozales, 2009. 12 composition boards with colored markers, 16 x 11 3/4 inches. Featured in the CAM exhibition SubRosa: The Language of Resistance
Visit the InsideART website to see all eight editions (as of 2016) of available curricula, going back to 2010.