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BISB Partners with Museum of Fine Arts to Promote Student Artwork

By next month, BISB students could add a new accomplishment to their resume: having their artwork displayed at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.

  • Students pose in front of David Hockney's "Garrowby Hill"
  • Students pose in front of David Hockney's "Garrowby Hill" at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts
  • Students pose in front of David Hockney's "Garrowby Hill" at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts
  • Students pose in front of David Hockney's "Garrowby Hill" at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts
  • Students pose in front of David Hockney's "Garrowby Hill" at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

The opportunity comes as part of a new partnership with the city’s well-known art museum, which will bring the “Take One” arts initiative to the British International School of Boston this April and will culminate in a May 3 exhibition of student artwork at the museum.

“Having the opportunity to have your work exhibited at a national gallery is a great achievement for students at BISB,” said Head of Art Jessica Smith. “To have your work hung alongside famous artists such as David Hockney, Claude Monet and Degas is almost a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The “Take One” project is inspired by a similar program by the UK National Gallery. Each year, the gallery focuses on one painting from the collection to inspire student work in the nation’s classrooms. Schools are challenged to use the image in their lessons, both as a stimulus for student art work and for work in more unexpected curriculum areas.

This year, BISB has joined together with the Museum of Fine Arts to bring the “Take One” initiative to Boston, turning April into “Arts April,” and celebrating arts education throughout all classes and subjects.

With support from the MFA, BISB has selected an image from the museum’s collection to serve as the inspiration for the school’s Take One project. The painting, “Garrowby Hill,” was created by David Hockney, an English painter and artist best known for his pop art paintings.

Arts April kicked off last week with visits to the MFA by middle and high school students to view Hockney’s piece and prepare for their month of arts-inspired learning. Primary students plan to visit the museum to view the piece this week.

Hockney’s piece will serve as inspiration for student art throughout the month, and the student art produced as part of the Take One initiative will be entered for a spot in the school exhibition at the MFA on Sunday, May 3.

But while having art shown at the MFA is certainly strong motivation for BISB students, the goals of the Take One project are much broader: from bringing learning outside of the classroom to demonstrating the possibilities of enhancing student learning by engaging with art.

Teachers throughout all year groups will use “Garrowby Hill” to inspire student learning not just in art lessons but across the subject areas, engaging with the art in a variety of ways and challenging students to think about art from different perspectives.

In Nic Carpenter’s Year 7 science class, for example, students spent their Tuesday lesson exploring the pH balances of a variety of chemicals, using these chemicals to produce the variety of colors found in Hockney’s painting.

Going forward, students may be asked to write poetry inspired by the artwork in English lessons, or try their hand at writing a letter to the artist. Geography classes may use the painting as a starting point for a conversation about mapping, while history lessons may explore the life of the artist and the area in which he painted.

Understanding the connections between the arts and learning in other subjects, Smith said, is a valuable lesson she hopes students will take away from the “Take One” project.

“Arts education plays a pivotal role in a child’s education and development,” she said. “Study of the arts in its many forms, whether as a stand-alone subject or integrated into the school curriculum, is increasingly accepted as an essential part of achieving success in school, work and life.”

The Arts April initiative and “Take One” project are part of a new partnership between the Museum of Fine Arts and the British International School of Boston. The partnership also allows BISB students and teachers to visit the museum for school learning trips at no cost.

The May 3 exhibit of student art is the latest benefit to the school as a result of this partnership. The exhibit will be ticketed, and BISB families will be able to get tickets through the school. Additional ticket information will be shared closer to the event.

For more information on the Museum of Fine Arts and BISB’s school partnership, click here.