Sarah Mostow is founding museum educator with Arts & Minds. She is co-author with Hollie Ecker of How Might You: Seeking Inquiry in the Museum Studio (Journal of Museum Education, June 2015), which describes best practices for facilitating meaningful, open-ended art experiences in the museum and is based on here extensive teaching experience at The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and The Morgan Library & Museum. Sarah is also a painter and makes artists books, which she has exhibited in and around New York City.
The conversations we have at Arts & Minds are the most provocative I’ve had anywhere. Seasoned participants come ready for an experience. Each time, we encounter an original artwork, almost as if it were a living thing. In the studio, we speak through materials: paint, paper, ink. Perhaps most importantly, we share with others. At the end of every session, I feel as if something has happened.
Hollie Ecker is a teaching artist and museum educator for visitors of all ages and abilities at major museums in New York City — MOMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Jewish Museum and the Whitney Museum. As a Fulbright Scholar, Hollie spent time in Italy, developing and implementing school/museum partnerships for deaf students with the Museo Nazionale Romano di Palazzo Massimo. Her teaching focuses on visitors with disabilities, especially adults with Alzheimer’s and deaf children. Hollie is a ceramic artist and when she is not making or teaching art she loves to dance salsa.
My commitment to Arts & Minds is deeply rooted with my belief in supporting the right conditions, where meaningful connections are possible for our community of participants: connections between themselves and other participants, themselves and the artworks in the museum, and finally, between their own personal experiences and art-making materials.
Nellie Escalante facilitates museum programs for Arts & Minds and the Studio Museum in Harlem. She is also the Program Coordinator for Arts & Minds working alongside the Executive Director in charge of making sure programs run smoothly and all participants feel welcome. When she is not at the museum, she is designing wearable art, often reconstructing existing garments and selling her creations online and in select artisan fairs in New York City.
When I discovered Arts & Minds at the Studio Museum, I was struck by the sense of community that exists among the participants and how, in this spirit of togetherness, we can look at a work of art and collectively attempt to decipher it. All participants are seen, and all voices are heard – even if it’s just one word. This is powerful to me and continues to be the number one reason why I love facilitating programs at Arts & Minds.
Josie Gonzalez joined the teaching team of Arts & Minds in 2012, inaugurating Arts & Minds at the New-York Historical Society, where she is a Senior Educator. She has also taught at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and created the art education pilot programs for the soon-to-open Bronx Children’s Museum. Her studio and public artworks have been exhibited at numerous venues throughout the NYC area. Her permanent stained glass installation can be seen at the NYC MTA Woodlawn Ave. #4 train station. In 2015 she was included in the Bronx Artist Documentary Project, a historic photography project documenting Bronx artists at work in their studios.
Exploring art treasures from New York City’s past, sharing discoveries, inspiring each other, noticing whimsy and irony, deepening our connections to each other, and ultimately creating responsive artworks, are what I believe to be all part of the Arts & Minds experience. As a Teaching Artist for Arts & Minds, I’ve learned that even more important than the art making are the connections we make with each other. We laugh a lot together!
Manuela works as a museum educator for the new arts and minds program in Spanish at El Museo del Barrio. She also teaches at The Whitney Museum, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and The Museum of Modern Art for School and Family Programs. Manuela holds a BFA and MFA in painting, which has allowed her to facilitate art making workshops at several other institutions and connect her studio practice to her teaching.
Being a part of Arts & Minds has made me see the incredible potential museum education has to bring people together and see the world through a different lens. Witnessing adults who have never met before and are experiencing memory loss, come together through the exploration of an artwork and find common ground they didn’t think existed, is one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had. I’ve been deeply moved by every conversation, and piece of artwork I’ve seen come out of this program.
Laura is a creative arts educator and a social and educational program designer. Her passion and professional experience focus on theater, visual arts, creative writing, movement and sound to foster sustainable, healthy and vibrant communities. She is the co-founder of Artered, a social/artistic global initiative that uses the arts as a tool for peace building and social justice projects. As of 2015, she has implemented art education projects in Colombia, Argentina, Nepal, India, Guatemala and The United States.
I started facilitating for Arts & Minds this fall/2015 at El Museo del Barrio. My experience as an educator has been inspiring and extraordinary. During an Arts & Minds session, participants from all parts of Latin America come together to a space where we may share ideas and feelings about art works, be creative and spontaneous by making art, build community by laughing and celebrating each other. By the end of the session no ones wants to go home, including myself.
Amalia Guajardo is a museum educator with experience facilitating a variety of programs for diverse visitors including schools, early childhood, teachers, families and people with disabilities. Originally from Spain, she is passionate about bringing people together through the arts and making museums accessible to all. Amalia has facilitated programs at the High Line and the Brooklyn Museum and currently she teaches at El Museo del Barrio, the Jewish Museum, the Noguchi Museum, the Studio Mueum in Harlem and Arts and Minds. She holds a BA in Art History and a MA in Visual Arts and Education.
For me the most powerful part of Arts & Minds sessions are the connections that we make. We make personal connections with art in the galleries and the studio. We connect with our own experiences and also with the world around us. For me Arts & Minds is all about bringing people together and caring about each other.