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Dedicated, Displayed, Discovered: Celebrating the Region's School Art Collections

Co-curated by Adrienne Neszmelyi-Romano, Director of Interpretation & Innovation and Louise Feder, Assistant Curator

July 8, 2017 – January 7, 2018
Fred Beans Gallery

Arthur Meltzer, (1893-1989), Still Life with Pleading Figure, n.d., oil on canvas, H. 21.5 x W. 23.5 inches. Collection of the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22.
Kenneth R. Nunamaker, (1890-1957), Woodland Brook, c. 1931, oil on canvas, H. 28” x W. 32”. On loan from the New Hope-Solebury School District.

Students don’t often have the occasion to view real works of art in their own school buildings, but this region has a long tradition of assembling collections of original works of art for display and educational use in public schools. School districts in Bucks, Montgomery, Berks, and Lehigh Counties, as well as in  Philadelphia, are such centers for this activity.

In an area rich in cultural heritage, many artists—along with lead advocates in education—understood as early as the 1890s the importance of educating children about the arts and exposing them to real objects in the classroom. From then until the mid-1900s, key movements in art appreciation and the study of aesthetics, including Picture Study and Schoolroom Decoration, galvanized schools to collect works of art. School administrators and board members who advocated for the arts, and developed direct connections with artists, brought collections to their fullest potential.

Dedicated, Displayed, Discovered: Celebrating the Region’s School Art Collections will draw from various collections throughout these counties to highlight the historical background of the collections and their artists, their connections to historical movements in education, reasons for their development, their usage in the curriculum, and how teachers and administrators worked with artists of the era. The paintings and archival materials on display illustrate how these collections are relevant to today’s districts and the current movements in arts education.

Dedicated, Displayed, Discovered: Celebrating the Region’s School Art Collections is generously supported by Worth & Company, Inc. and Silverman Family Partnerships.

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