LAWRENCE — The Freeman Foundation has awarded the Spencer Museum of Art $437,261 to develop a K-12 outreach program focused on Asian art. Through this two-year grant, the Spencer Museum will partner with Salina Arts & Humanities to create educational resources for teachers and elementary students in Central Kansas using Asian works of art from the Spencer’s collection.
“We are honored to collaborate with the Salina community and its educators to extend the impact of the Spencer Museum and KU across Kansas,” Spencer Director Saralyn Reece Hardy said. “The K-12 state outreach program will advance our goals of preparing global citizens, cultivating cross-cultural understanding and teaching empathy.”
The program will draw on the museum’s Asian art collection to produce a series of digital resources, including an updated web presence for the Spencer’s collection, and object reproductions for use in the classroom that promote Kansas state academic standards. The Spencer Museum’s significant holdings of Chinese, Japanese and Korean works of art can enhance the teaching of world history, scientific processes, language and communications, the environment and other core curricular subjects. The program will also offer professional development for Kansas teachers to learn how to integrate art into their classrooms.
A committee of teachers from Central Kansas schools will help develop the program’s resources along with Spencer educators Rachel Straughn-Navarro, Kristina Walker and Amanda Martin-Hamon, Curator Kris Ercums and Lori Brack, Salina project coordinator.
“With the Freeman Foundation’s support, the Spencer’s outreach program will make the museum’s rich collection of Asian art and cultural connections more accessible across the state,” Straughn-Navarro said. “This project is at a critical point in time that aligns with new initiatives in the state of Kansas to promote social-emotional skills and build global awareness in K-12 students.”
Image: "Medicine Buddha," China, early 1400s, William Bridges Thayer Memorial, Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas.