Test scores in the fields of math, science and literature often drive the focus of the educational curriculum in our schools. However Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art provides an educational benefit that goes beyond a casual exposure to the arts.

“Art can really impact how you see the world,” Farmington High School Senior Lark Sybrant shared. “And everyone interprets it differently.”

Farmington High School Senior Lark Sybrant and her classmates took part in the Walker School Visits program at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The interest she has in art stems from acknowledging how much it falls outside of the standard courses of study.

“It’s not a set thing, like science or math where there’s a structure,” Sybrant explained. “It’s something free-flowing that you can make your own interpretations toward.”

Crystal Bridges Head of School Programs Nile Blunt offers a simple explanation why the field trips are important.

“We do this because, at the core of the museum’s mission, is to welcome all and it’s also to provide equitable access to the arts through initiatives like this,” Blunt said.

Farmington High School Art Teacher Audrea Danenhauer explained how it is important to realize students live in a culture where they are inundated with visual images.

“Being able for them to interpret what they see and being able for them to have a foundation in understanding of those things in our society, and a human connection, is vital,” Danenhauer pointed out. 

Blunt shared a recent study by the University of Arkansas found students — who take field trips like the one Sybrant and her classmates participated in — show an increase in critical thinking, recall, tolerance and empathy, as well as cultural interests.

“It is far beyond just looking at the art, it’s also about understanding the impact that art has on our daily lives,” Blunt said. 

“That’s a great opportunity for different schools and communities, who might not usually get that chance,” Sybrant shared. “Like if you can’t come to an art museum normally, this is a great way to experience art in a classroom setting.”

Crystal Bridges offers curriculum-based programming to support classroom learning for grades K-12 by utilizing student tours, workshops, professional development for educators, curriculum connections and in-depth learning through technology. Click here to learn more about the educational programs at Crystal Bridges.