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Princeton University Museum Opens Mini Masters Exhibition Showcasing Works of its Young Visitors
Museum Docent Jane Ashcom taking students of the Art for Families program on a tour of a Roman Mosaic in the museum’s ancient art collection.

PRINCETON, NJ.- The Princeton University Art Museum is pleased to present Mini Masters, an exhibition featuring art by children of all ages, from Thursday, January 29 through Sunday, February 1, 2009. Comprising more than one hundred works, Mini Masters celebrates the creativity and artistic expression of the museum’s young visitors who participated in the museum’s educational programs throughout the year.

Mini Masters opens in conjunction with the museum’s premier annual fundraising event, the Greco-Roman themed gala, AMUSEMENT, which will be held on Saturday, January 31. During the gala, patrons will not only enjoy dinner and dancing, but will also be treated to this visual feast of children’s art inspired by works in the museum’s collections. Proceeds from the gala directly support educational outreach initiatives in the museum’s Department of Education and Academic Programming, which provide free access and educational opportunities to the extended community.

"Showcasing these superb works of art to the public is the finest way of illustrating the impact the museum’s educational programs have on our young student visitors,” said Gala Cochair Trudy Borenstein-Sugiura.

Mini Masters includes a wide array of works by students of all ages–—from kindergarten participants in the museum’s Art for Families program and third-grade students in the Frances Lange Public School Program to upper-school art students from Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart. The museum’s long-running Frances Lange Public School Program offers approximately one hundred third-grade students from several elementary schools in the Trenton Public School District the opportunity to explore the museum’s extensive collection each year. This multi-visit program is run by museum docents in coordination with the students’ art and classroom teachers. The third-graders learn about cultures, civilizations, art history, and techniques, and complete related art projects. They also keep journals of their visits in which they use both written and artistic expressions to record their impressions.

“This program ignites a passion for learning,” said Mary Fletcher, a teacher at Washington Elementary School. “I see excitement in my students’ eyes and hear wonderful observations. They begin to see the world differently. They become more focused and learn how to analyze and look deeper at things. And their insightful questions challenge me to linger on the art like you would study a poem.”

The artwork as well as the journals of the students who participated in this program this past fall will be on view in Mini Masters.

In addition, Mini Masters will also feature art created by participants in Art for Families, the museum’s popular Saturday program for children ages 5 through 9. The Art for Families program engages children with visual works of art in an effort to foster their creativity. Included in Mini Masters are clay figures fashioned after Chinese tomb guardians and mosaics inspired by a Roman mosaic in the museum's collection of ancient art.

"This is a wonderful program to introduce children (and, yes, adults) to the world of art. The children learn by viewing, listening and doing. The teachers are dedicated and enthusiastic about imparting their knowledge and love of art to their students, who reciprocate in kind,” remarked the parent of one of the participants in Art for Families.

In the fall of 2008, a group of high-school photography students from the Stuart Country Day school of the Sacred Heart documented their visit to the museum through black and white photographs taken in and around the museum during a period of student reflection. These photographs will also be included in the exhibition.

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