I am proud to introduce to you a V.I.P in our world of art education, Deirdra Alexander! She is on the front lines of our Toddler Thursday program and you can often find her working with various school programs and leading art-making workshops. She’s an absolute whiz in the world of exploring funky and fun art projects as well as being super kind, insightful, and dedicated.
Q: How long have you worked at the High?
My first day working at the museum was during the opening of the new Renzo Piano expansion in 2005. It was a crazy and fun day with art making activities in the workshops downstairs, outside in the piazza, and even on the sidewalk on Peachtree Street. There were people everywhere.
Q: What is it that you do at the Museum?
For our Toddler Thursday program I first walk through the museum and find a work of art to inspire an art making activity. I pick out a few points of interest from the work for an adult visitor to share with their young toddler, encouraging them to look deeper. I decide on a project using a variety of art mediums — paint, clay, stamping, collage, and even recycled objects. I then choose the book that will be read to the toddlers throughout the day. I also work with preschool, elementary, and middle school students who take a docent led tour through the museum and participate in an art making activity. I especially like working in the Afterschool Program which provides ten weeks of art enrichment learning for 3rd through 5th graders who attend designated Atlanta Public Schools.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
That I don’t even think of it as work. When I was in first grade, the teacher asked us to go home and think about what kind of job we would want to do all day long and every day… a daunting thought for a five year old. The only thing I could see never getting tired of was making collages. We had this great big tray of stuff the teacher would set before us and the possibilities seemed endless. So basically I do have my dream job!
Q: What is your favorite work of art in the permanent collection and why?
My favorite work to talk with students about is Untitled, by David Adamo. It is a tiny red door in our Contemporary Galleries. Young children amaze me with their detailed observations and curiosity about how to get inside the door and what could possibly be on the other side… pizza, a princess, all the candy in the world, even a family of elephants may be hiding behind that small red door.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working at the Museum?
I also teach art at a local preschool. When I am at home I try to make some time for my own painting and also enjoy being outdoors. Otherwise I spend a lot of time reading and try to see an occasional foreign or art film.