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If your K-12 class can’t come to the Getty this year, the Getty will come to you.

Following the success of a virtual pilot program this summer with Los Angeles Unified School District and Inner-City Education Foundation (ICEF) the Getty Education team has expanded the program to additional school districts and home school networks in Southern California.

Getty Virtual Art Explorations is an interactive, collection-based, object-focused experience with students. The program uses a discovery and inquiry-based approach to teaching, and was created to provide arts education in the virtual classroom. Using Zoom, Getty is also able to extend its reach both locally and globally, opening new doors and connecting with future visitors. (Reservations for the program open on Sept. 8.)

Over the summer 1,200 LAUSD students in grades K-6  were taught by  Getty educators for interactive lessons ranging from mindfulness to curatorial studies. During the LAUSD courses called Gettying Creative with Visual Arts, Getty Educators provided close looking exercises and conversations to connect with works of art in the Getty collection; Mindfulness, Art, and Fitness allowed Getty educators to provide a close-looking exercise with a piece of art from the collection to help students become mindful on their physical and mental health in preparation for LAUSD physical education courses. Getty educators were featured speakers in a course called Museum Studies run by LAUSD.

“Since young learners are spending so much of their summers indoors, we focused on landscape paintings – images of wide-open spaces and natural places,” said Getty educator David Bowles, in response to takeaways from the program. “We found that in addition to close-looking and critical thinking skills, students shared experiences of quarantine, longings for missing friends and loved ones, and their visions for a world that comes after COVID-19.“

This school year Getty Virtual Art Explorations will continue to focus on close-looking, analysis, discovery, dialogue, and embodiment to empower students to look at and interpret art in new, unique ways that leverage the increasing technology available.

“Getty educators believe that the interpretation of art strengthens perception, expression, and imagination, and develops the skills to describe and analyze what one perceives, said Getty educators William Zaluski and Kelly Jane Smith Fatten. “The online classroom setting is a communal one, and community art experiences can increase an understanding, not just of art, but of one’s self and others, offering balanced experiences that benefit the collective psychology. We believe that the students of Los Angeles are the number one priority of the greater community at large, and we are delighted to offer what we do best as a part of students’ experience in these new times.”

While the classes are virtual, the interactive teaching still focuses on the students. Educators work to foster connections with the virtual community outside the walls of the museum, build empathy through conversation, and to keep art alive for these students during this time of limited social interaction.

“It was really touching to witness the students take some time out from their school day at home to close their eyes, take deep breaths together, and reflect on paintings from our collection, said Getty educator Lissa Latina.

To reserve your classroom’s spot or to learn more about the program go here.