Summer Teacher Institute
The Teacher Institute is a six-day seminar that helps K–12 teachers (of all subjects) strengthen their knowledge of art history while integrating visual art into classroom teaching. The program features lectures, gallery tours, teaching strategies, and hands-on learning experiences.
The Gallery is no longer accepting applications for the 2013 Teacher Institute. Please check back in January 2014 for updated information and program application.
About the 2013 Institute
This seminar examines the pioneering artists of French impressionism and post-impressionism whose innovations laid the foundations for 20th-century art.
The second half of the 19th century witnessed great political and social change in France with accompanying challenges to the artistic status quo. The poet and essayist Charles Baudelaire urged artists to paint modern life rather than subjects drawn from history. As if responding to his call, a group of radical young painters—pejoratively dubbed "impressionists"—turned their attention to the changing world around them, especially Paris, which was undergoing large-scale transformation from a medieval to a modern city. The new parks and broad boulevards, the cafes, theaters, and dance halls—where the social classes mingled in ways previously unimaginable—all became fodder for the impressionists' art. While Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir captured the optical and ephemeral effects of light and color in both urban and rural settings, Berthe Morisot and Mary Cassatt used similar techniques to portray a more sequestered world of domestic rituals and personal relationships.
A younger generation of artists absorbed and extended the impressionists' spirit of invention. Painters such as Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh invested their art with emotional, psychological, and spiritual depth, choosing colors and forms for expressive rather than descriptive purposes. Paul Cézanne and Georges Seurat challenged the impressionists' efforts to dissolve form through light. Experimenting with geometry and mathematics they simplified structure and form, paving the way for future abstract artists.
The seminar highlights the social and cultural context of art and introduces interdisciplinary teaching strategies. Participants will explore connections between the visual arts and music, social studies, and language arts. They will visit collections of 19th-century French art in other local cultural institutions. Activities are designed to meet teachers' personal and professional enrichment needs.
By offering an opportunity to explore paintings and objects in the National Gallery and other collections, the program aims to:
- provide an introduction to French art and culture from the 1860s to the turn-of-the-century;
- examine the radical changes in both technique and subject introduced by French impressionists and post-impressionists in the context of traditional artistic training and practice in France;
- foster an understanding of painting as an artistic creation and of period techniques of fabrication;
- encourage the use of artworks as primary sources in classroom instruction;
- share models for incorporating art into interdisciplinary teaching and strengthening students' visual literacy.
Two six-day sessions will be held at the Gallery for 25 participants each. Applicants should indicate their session preference and keep both weeks open until registration is finalized. They should also plan to attend the entire program, which takes place Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
Session 1: July 15–20, 2013
Session 2: July 29–August 3, 2013
Watch a short introduction to the Institute
The 2013 Teacher Institute is supported by generous gifts from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, the Sara Shallenberger Brown Fund, and the Annetta J. and Robert M. Coffelt Sr. and Robert M. Coffelt Jr. Endowed Fellowship.
Questions about this program should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. When contacting the Gallery, please provide a telephone number and the times of day when you can best be reached.