by Albert Valdez (’10)
The Artists, Community, and Teaching (ACT) program was a valuable experience not only in terms of learning and developing the pedagogy associated with museum education but also in defining who I am as an artist. The program encourages the connection between an artist’s studio practice and the surrounding community, and putting into practice theories and principles of community arts education. As an ACT student, I participated in lesson planning, pedagogy theories, classroom observation, and hands-on teaching alongside my peers. The internship program placed us in a real world environment to work with professionals in a wide spectrum of educational programs. I was fortunate to intern with the LACMA Education Department, assisting museum educators in a gallery and studio environment.
No job was too small for a LACMA office/ teacher assistant—prepping, stapling, folding, filing, and listening led to a teaching position with the NexGen Program, which provides membership to children under the age of 18. NexGen members visit the museum for free, experience several art-making opportunities, and can invite an adult as their free guest. My NexGen experience led to teaching in the LACMA’s OnSite Library workshops, whichprovide intergenerational learning for all family members. These art education programs paved the way for me to lead my very own program—LACMA’s OnSite School Program.
The OnSite School Program introduces LAUSD students to the Museum’s encyclopedic collection. Each year, we partner with six elementary schools and two middle schools, visiting Special Ed and Pre-K-8 classrooms, where museum educators develop and lead one-hour art-making workshops. The Museum educators provide six art-making workshops per LAUSD classroom. LACMA’s mission is to support current arts programming in LAUSD schools by making personal and meaningful connections between LACMA’s encyclopedic collection and student learning, while building a strong presence in the community. With each visit, students focus on descriptive language to support their ideas and relate their art-making process to their own experience, knowledge and background. By reflecting and reinforcing their conversations about art with art making, students make a personal connection to the arts.
Along with participating in LACMA’s commitment to art education in the underserved areas of Los Angeles, I have worked with fellow alumni on the MobileMuralLab project, and with nonprofi ts such as the San Gabriel Conservation Corps. These groups educate the community on the importance of the arts as an integral part of everyone’s personal education. As an artist and community member, I intend to answer the call and do my best to make sure the arts stay in the minds of future generations.
Albert Valdez is the Education Coordinator for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) Education Department. He maintains a painting studio in Culver City and participates in the monthly art walks. Valdez is also actively engaged in raising community awareness of art through project-based workshops and mural programs.
“ I love that together we [LACMA & Otis] are fostering a new generation of artists who will include public engagement in their practice.”
—Karen Satzman, Director of Youth and Family Programs LACMA Education Department