Color is an important part of art and life, which can be utilized by the museum educator to engage visitors with the art. For the museum educator, development of appropriate programs and activities to meet the needs of their audience is a central component of their responsibilities; therefore employment of important characteristics of art, such as color, to accomplish these goals is important.
To demonstrate how an educator can utilize color, I have developed a tour using the Speed Art Museum's collection. Although it is written specifically for one collection, the ideas can be translated to other institutions. Since school groups are among the most frequent and consistent visitors for many institutions, I designed this particular tour for the fourth and fifth grade level. To make this tour able to engage students as much as possible, and have a lasting affect, I have designed a variety of activities and discussion questions, to accompany the artwork, all of which present color as a fascinating and approachable path for connecting the students to art.
Before presenting my tour, I approach color from a variety of different angles: historically, theoretically, cultures, scientifically, psychologically, physiologically and logistically. Each of these sections shows the importance of color, through a different sector of life. They show that color isn't just artistic, but important to every aspect of life.
Within the theories section, I review the varying philosophies. I cite the thoughts of many important thinkers, including Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, Gustave Moreau, Wassily Kandinsky, Helen Keller, Josef Albers, Johannes Itten, Carlos Cruz-Diez and David Batchelor. They discuss the importance and influence of color, to both themselves personally and society at large.
After explaining the role of color thoroughly, I then am ready to do a walkthrough of my tour. I discuss primary colors, warm and cool colors, complementary colors, analogous colors, black and white and grayscale colors, neutral colors and the individual affects of red, white, yellow, gold, green, black and blue. Here I present info on each of the chosen artworks.
I give some tips on how to give the tour most successfully, including suggesting activities for docents to use on the tour. The activities are important to engage the children and make a lasting impression for art and color.
Finally, I explain the practical application of the tour as I explain how I gave it to a 4th grade class myself. I discuss how things went, what worked and what didn't. I prove that the tour is both applicable but successful in teaching a group more about color theory.