The exhibit by Barbara Ellmann, AN OPEN BOOK, represents an opportunity to do research on the social interactions, meaning making, interpretations, and playful possibilities that occur for visitors when visual art is intentionally displayed to engage participants in an educative and interactive experience. That is not to suggest that other museum exhibits don’t have their educative dimensions, but that this particular exhibit, with its laboratory, and partnerships for aesthetic education involving teaching artists, young people, and educators, represents a unique intentionality to examine the reflexive natures of artistic practice and aesthetic education.

The sources of data for qualitative analysis include:
• Observations of visitors to the exhibition and discussions of the works

• Records of arrangements and comments of the grid PICTURE IT

• Examination of the role of the laboratory space in the exhibit and a record of how it is used over time

• Written comments and reflections by visitors to the exhibit

• Interviews with staff from Education for the Arts, and teachers who are involved in using the exhibit in their teaching

The research project seeks to provide a descriptive analysis that could answer questions about the value of this endeavor, and the educative outcomes for the range of participants from those who visit the exhibit to those who use the exhibit to guide the experiences of others.

Alexandra Miletta, principal investigator, is an assistant professor in the Department of Childhood Education at Mercy College. She has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she studied teacher education, and a MA from Syracuse University in Art History. For questions about the research project she can be reached by email at amiletta@mercy.edu.

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