Art Institute Field trip Proposal

Chicago’s Art Institute is number one on the world’s best museum list (  With over 300, 000 pieces of art just thirty miles from Winston, it is an opportunity for our title one school to see, firsthand, original pieces from Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, and Rembrandt. The 1930 painting American Gothic (think farmer and pitchfork) is in the same building as Georges Seurat’s, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte  (1884, France). Architecture and design pieces teach perspective and precision alongside aesthetic value (think Frank Lloyd Wright).  With Instagram and Snapchat, the photography exhibits at the Art Institute can teach students the history of the medium beginning in 1839. Students can see the importance of lighting, angles, and (again) perspective while considering how images represent eras and cultures (e.g., Samuel Miller’s Frederick Douglass, 1847/52; Gustave Le Gray’s Brig on the Water, France 1856,  Charles Sheeler’s Industry, 1927, Roy DeCarava’s Dancers, New York, 1956).  And before photography, there was sculpture. The Art Institute is the home of Adam 1856) by Auguste Rodin in bronze. All of our seventh graders will have an opportunity to see, firsthand, the most beautiful and thought-provoking artifacts of humanity.

The Art Institute and Common Core

Experiences in the museum are a great way for your students to use critical thinking skills and apply concepts learned in the classroom in a new context.  “The great news is that the standards call on so many things the arts do well. The tradition of careful observation, attention to evidence and artists’ choices, the love of taking an artist’s work seriously lies at the heart of these standards,” said David Coleman, CCSS architect. CCSS emphasize the use of original sources, close examination of texts and other materials, and exploration of multiple perspectives. They encourage student-centered, inquiry-based learning in which students formulate and articulate independent responses to texts and ideas. There is a focus on information literacy skills and the arguments made in and across history through various mediums. Students must learn to compare conflicting accounts in order to create an argument about the past (e.g., What does this piece suggest the era was about versus that piece?) and to articulate and negotiate problem solving.

Cross-Content Speaking and Listening: 


History and Foreign Language: The tour, Art from Many Places, encompasses art from many geographic locations (National Geography Bee), historical eras, and varied cultures. Students will develop looking and critical thinking skills as they explore the differences and similarities among works of art throughout the museum

Science, STEM: Think DaVinci. Both art and science are dedicated to the questions: What is true? Why does it matter? How do we move society forward?  “The art studio and the science lab are two places for open-ended inquiry, for failure to be a welcome part of the process, for learning to occur by a continuous feedback loop between thinking and doing” (Scientific American).

Teaching Materials