Art Education for schoolclasses

“Why is that art?" This question is frequently asked when looking at contemporary art which is often said to be hard to understand. Students of the Institute of Art History of the Ruhr University supported by the curator Hilke Wagner have developed a concept for guided tours for school children where this question will be raised. The concept was integrated into the program of Situation Kunst in September of 2009. The aim of the project is to encourage pupils to face art without prejudice, to trust their own perception, because these direct impressions lead from the seemingly meaningless to meaning. The smaller age difference between the university students and pupils encourages discussions and creates a friendly atmosphere. For example, the groups see a room with four gigantic steel plates put in the corners, diagonally protruding into the room. Or they see an installation with five projectors, which do not seem to have any function, apart from projecting a picture periodically at the wall opposite, sometimes smaller, sometimes larger. All this seems to be confusing and in these initial moments it is irrelevant that these artifices were created by internationally acknowledged artists, Richard Serra and Gianni Colombo. The confusion that one might experience at the beginning, changes into interesting visual impressions in the end. School children learn how to deal with this seemingly unusual kind of art, think about what they are seeing, and are encouraged to express their thoughts. The individual perception plays an important role during the guided tours through the park Haus Weitmar. Participants are encouraged to absorb what they see and verbalize their thoughts. There are no right or wrong answers; rather it is the personal impression that matters. The minor age difference between the university students and the pupils is ideal for discussions in a friendly atmosphere. The aim of this program is not to give information in the traditional way, but to allow school children to experience a museum that has more to offer than just big rooms where they have to be quiet. The project has been very popular from the beginning. 40 teachers and headmasters visited the official opening ceremony of the program at Situation Kunst. More than 300 pupils have participated since then. Numerous school classes and groups have been encouraged to think about and discuss the pieces of art at Situation Kunst and to enjoy the experience. Anja Lapac, one of the initiators of the project, reports enthusiastically: "Our fear, that complete classes would refuse a discussion was soon dismissed. Most pupils participate actively. Many have sharp perceptive skills and discover things faster than typical adult visitors”. "Both for the teacher and for the kids it was a very rewarding time at Situation Kunst. The pupils felt that they were taken seriously and that they were treated as young art-experts. Thus, they were open to ask questions and express their thoughts.", remembers Imke Oelbermann a teacher at the Erich-Kästner-Comprehensive School in Bochum, who has returned to Situation Kunst four times. The project is supported by the Bochumer Schulamt as well as Förderverein Situation Kunst - Haus Weitmar E.V. The program patron is the mayor of Bochum, Dr. Ottilie Scholz. Guided tours can also be booked outside of the opening times. A guided tour for a class costs 30 €. For further information please contact: or schule(at)situation-kunst[dot]de or call 0234 2988901. We kindly ask you to book groups approx. 3-4 weeks in advance.