“Actually, this was kind of fun,” said one of the 7th grade students as we finished up the trip to see Marisol Escobar’s sculptures. The 7th and 8th grade sculpture and wood design students ventured uptown to Museo Del Barrio to get a glimpse of work that has not been exhibited in New York City for decades. It was exciting to share Escobar’s work with them.
The students were surprised at the grand scale of the sculptures and woodcarvings and began to understand the full effect of experiencing artwork in person. They were also impressed to see how Escobar’s work evolved and changed over time. The discussions were animated and thoughtful as we focused on three major works about which we examined: visual content, techniques and composition choices.
Going to a museum with 19 middle school students can be a challenge. A long train ride, potential rain, no snack breaks and time spent in a room without windows seems like a recipe for disaster, but our students did fabulously. Limiting the discussion to three works helped keep the kids curious and engaged for our visit.
As we left the museum and walked down 103rd street I could tell that the trip to Museo Del Barrio had been a great learning experience for our students. The conversations I overheard on the way home related to the exhibition and showed that the kids had been listening to each other (until the inevitable digression to the usual points of tweenage conversation). It’s always good to expose kids to independent thinkers, and Marisol Escobar has a magical trove of work that is guaranteed to inspire.