The Burdine Johnson Foundation has given the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin a five-year, $150,000 grant to support the museum’s kindergarten through 12th grade initiatives, including school tours and the Art Central program, which annually serves about 11,000 students from more than 125 schools.
“The Burdine Johnson Foundation is delighted to support The Blanton in its efforts to provide arts education opportunities to K-12 students in Austin and the surrounding areas, including those that have been historically underserved in the arts,” said Bill Johnson, trustee of the foundation. “The foundation shares the museum’s vision of improving the quality of life for young people in the community by improving access to the arts.”
The Blanton’s K-12 programs help students build critical and creative thinking skills through the careful observation of works of art. Tours of the museum’s permanent collection and special exhibitions — including some in Spanish — draw connections between students’ lives and the world around them. The examination of art from different periods and countries reinforces classroom objectives and curriculum, and aids teachers in their preparation of students for the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills tests. Through the Blanton’s Art Central program, students are provided with free transportation to and from the museum, free admission and an array of supplementary materials, including digital images of art, posters and other tools geared to enhance the museum visit.
The grant from the Burdine Johnson Foundation will provide support necessary to meet the large and growing demand for Blanton education programs. Since the opening of the Blanton’s new facility in 2006, annual participation of K-12 students in the museum’s education programs has risen from 6,900 to close to 11,000 from 125 schools last year. Last year, more than 3,800 students came from 45 schools in areas of high poverty that are historically underserved in the arts. The numbers continue to grow with the museum having served more than 3,200 students in the first quarter of this fiscal year-an unprecedented number for those months.