Highly Hands-On

Family Programs at the High Museum of Art

What’s Your Job at the High? May 28, 2014

Filed under: What's your job at the High? — erinkdougherty @ 5:48 pm
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Have you ever visited the museum and witnessed hordes of happy school children milling about the building? Well, those kids are so happy because we have a ballin’ School Programs team that keeps them engaged, stimulated, and fed! There are a whole lot of components that go into making a school visit run smoothly and a very important piece of that puzzle is the lovely Ellen O’Brien, School Programs Assistant Extraordinaire.


Q: How long have you worked at the High?

This month I celebrated my first full year working at The High!

Q: What is it that you do at the Museum?

I am the School Programs Assistant so I assist with the planning and implementation of programs and services for teachers and K-12th grade students.

Q: What do you like most about your job?

One of my favorite things about my job is watching students who visit the museum make connections to classroom lessons in new and exciting ways! I often see students surprise both themselves and their teachers with their creativity and insight. For me personally, art makes learning come alive so to see that happen for others is so fulfilling. I also especially love working with all of the Education Department who constantly inspire me with their resourcefulness and can-do attitudes!

Q: What is your favorite work of art in the permanent collection and why?

It’s so hard to play favorites with all the wonderful art in our permanent collection! I do always find myself drawn to Anselm Kiefer’s painting Dragon (Drache). Before I worked at The High, anytime I would make a trip to Atlanta to see a new exhibition I would often try and make my way up to the skyway galleries to visit this monumental piece. I love to stand in front of this large painting and feel oh-so-small as I take in the rich textures Kiefer created with the choppy ocean waves and the dramatic night sky. This painting also includes a constellation depicting a mythological character that Keifer found being used throughout various cultures as a representation of evil within human nature, so fascinating!

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working at the Museum?

Lately, I have loved being outside soaking up this warm spring weather at the park or on a friend’s porch. I also like creating art or crafts of my own, enjoying good food with friends, and finding great live music to enjoy!


Meet the Architect: Richard Meier May 23, 2014

Filed under: General — erinkdougherty @ 5:05 pm
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Richard Meier was the original architect of the High Museum of Art.  Much of your adventure in the museum probably takes place in the Stent Family Wing, the part of the building that Meier designed.  The circular ramps and wedge-shaped skylight in the atrium make us look up in wonder at the beautiful space.  Sculptures peek around the pillars as we ascend the floors, inviting us into the galleries for a closer look.  We aren’t the only ones who have fallen in love with his incredible design; in 1984, Meier was awarded the Pritsker Prize for his work on the High, the most distinguished architecture prize out there.

When Meier’s kids used to ask him what his favorite color was, he always disappointed them by answering, “white.” He went on to explain to them that white wasn’t boring at all!  In fact, white can be incredible because it is ever-changing, able to reflect all the colors of the rainbow!  Meier had a favorite shape, too.  Can you guess what it was? Next time you are at the museum go on a “square hunt” with your kiddos.  They are everywhere if you take the time to notice!



Watercolor Wonderful! May 16, 2014

Filed under: General,I'm bored — erinkdougherty @ 5:36 pm
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We absolutely LOVE watercolors here at the museum.  Because they are such a light medium, they sometimes have a mind of their own!  They flow, and bleed, and blend into each other—some of the reasons why working with them is so awesome! With a simple set of watercolor paints and a few household materials, creating unique pieces of art has never been so much fun!

Here are a few techniques that you can employ for different effects:


When you sprinkle salt on wet watercolor the crystals suck up the paint, gathering the pigments around them.  Brush off the salt when the painting is dry and behold an interesting texture that can vary with the size of the crystals and amount of salt applied.


Use different materials to “mask” sections of the painting that you would like to remain white.  Splatter or drip white glue and allow it to dry before painting to create a wacky abstract piece.  String rubber cement along the paper in crazy patterns and allow it to dry before painting.  You can later peel it off to reveal the pristine white paper beneath! If applied carefully, this technique can also be used to protect white space in small areas of a detailed painting.


Drip some watercolors onto a piece of paper.  Blow at the paint from different angles through a straw and watch the colors scatter and run!

A ton more objects can be used to experiment with watercolors.  Mess around with a spray bottle, sponge, crumpled paper, or anything else that strikes your fancy!


Work of the Week: Face Jar May 14, 2014

Filed under: General — erinkdougherty @ 5:28 pm


Next time you come to visit, head up to Gallery 304 on the 3rd Floor.  You might find something lurking there that you haven’t noticed before. A certain piece of pottery may look unassuming from its back, but as you make your way to its front you will find yourself face-to-face with…well…A FACE!  Pieces like this one appeared in South Carolina sometime in the mid 1800s. Their features provide an example of a creolized form that art historians believe has roots in both Africa and Europe.  There is a small hole near the bottom edge of our Face Jug, making its use very mysterious.  One theory suggests that adults kept things in them that they didn’t want their kids to get to and the scary face would keep the children away. 

This can be a fun piece to explore with your child.  Get their imaginations going with questions like, “What do you think adults would put in these jugs? “ or “Can you make a face like these guys?” or “How do these make you feel? Curious, scared, silly?”  You will surely get some creative answers!

Face Jar  can be found along with a few of his closest friends on the 3rd Floor of the Stent Family Wing in gallery 304.



Happenings at the High May 9, 2014

Filed under: General,Upcoming Events — erinkdougherty @ 2:49 pm
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The cowboys of Go West! have officially saddled up their horses and ridden off into the sunset. We might be in between special exhibitions right now, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fun things happening in the meantime!  As we wait expectantly for Dream Cars to roll in (May 21st!), our trusty family programs have been keeping us busy.

Every week toddlers and parents join us for creativity and learning at Toddler Thursday. We have a great lineup of projects on the docket as we finish up our Alphabet series and look forward to our next adventure—working our way through different art mediums.  From 11:00-3:00pm every Thursday you can drop-in with your little one(s) to create art, hear a story, and look at art in the galleries.

Do you have plans for Mother’s Day yet?  Take a family outing to the High, where mothers are queens for the day! Start off your day of fun with a tour of the collection.  A family-focused tour will begin at 2:00 pm in the Greene Family Learning Gallery.  You and your family will get a chance to wander through the galleries with one of our wonderful docents.  They really know their stuff! Swing by the Stent Atrium, where kids can create a sweet gift for their moms.