WEST HARTFORD – The Saint Joseph University art museum has received an endowment of $ 300,000 that will change the way they contact Hartford students, officials say.

The museum received the endowment of the MJB Foundation, which was founded by Monsignor Thomas J. Barry of Saint Patrick’s Church in Farmington.

Ann Sievers, director and curator of the museum, said the funding would allow them to “transform” their ability to connect with students of all ages in Hartford.

“For years we have been running workshops for substitute teachers and doing family days,” Sievers said. “We had a few internships in high school, but it all depended a lot on funding from grants or other private donations. It’s more episodic. This endowment will allow us each year to carry out programs specifically aimed at Hartford schools. We will be able to develop partnerships.

The initial plan, she said, is to hold more cohesive teacher workshops with teachers in Hartford, who can then bring what they’ve learned back to their school communities.

“We will be able to build on and extend these existing relationships,” said Sievers. “The idea is to increase their skills by using original art objects in their teaching. The goal is for them to return to their classroom and use these skills to bring their students to the museum. If they become proficient, it’s not just their current class that benefits … they can serve as master teachers.

Ultimately, said Sievers, they would like the endowment funding to facilitate field visits to the museum.

“We’ve never had funding before to help teachers bring their students here,” Sievers said. “It’s really important and it’s something that many museums have been able to do. Especially nowadays when everyone’s budget is very tight, it is important for us to help teachers.

Sievers said the museum always likes to host students who sometimes visit a museum for the first time.

“It is very important that students experience art first hand. We all want to see the original artwork and be in the museum space, ”Sievers said. “One of the really striking things, because it’s not a classroom, it often catches the interest of students who may not have been great performers in the classroom. There have been several cases of students left behind in the classroom who now express themselves … and show a real talent for art analysis. Their teachers see a whole new side in them.

The museum is planning an exhibition for 2023 based on a painting by Puerto Rican artist Miguel Luciano. They consider this exhibit to be important to the Puerto Rican people of Hartford.

“This painting is full of small images that surround the main image that has to do with Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States,” Sievers said. “We are taking a very close look at this exhibit as an opportunity to talk about the huge number of Puerto Rican children who came after the hurricane and who live in Hartford.”

Sievers said the endowment will also allow the museum to increase the frequency with which it can offer internships to high school students and seniors living in Hartford.

“Students can get involved in various aspects of the museum’s work, including working on organizing exhibits,” Sievers said. “There are many projects they can help with … with a view to opening up potential career opportunities in the future or helping them discover their skills and interests. They will really get to know how a museum works and all the different jobs that go on there.



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