From the Tribune Star Readers’ Forum: Nov. 2, 2009
Swope director helps students discover art
Recently, the sixth-grade art classes at West Vigo Middle School traveled to the Indianapolis Museum of Art for a field trip to discover art. This trip was special, as Brian Whisenhunt, director of the Swope Art Museum joined our group to help launch a “junior docent” program.
Our sixth graders were first treated to a tour of “Sacred Spain,” led by the IMA docents. History and art from the 1700s became alive, as we saw fabulous paintings depicting religious events and golden artifacts, including a crown dripping with hundreds of emeralds.
After taking a break for lunch, four of our newly trained junior docents from West Vigo High School led their groups on a tour of the Contemporary Art floor of the IMA. The high school students were Talon McClara, Shelby Behringer, Katelynn Neidlinger and Allison Walters. Mr. Whisenhunt helped prepare our high school guides with interesting questions to toss back to the sixth graders as they explored the various galleries. Students were once again awestruck with the power of art.
Mr. Whisenhunt has only been in Terre Haute a little over a year, but his educational impact has been significant. An art director in our midst that’s willing to pack a lunch and ride on a school bus along with 40 students to share his insight is phenomenal. Our community is very fortunate to have someone of his energy.
Our deepest thanks goes out to Mr. Whisenhunt and the Swope Art Museum for supporting our students at West Vigo Middle School. We would also like to thank our Principal Tim Vislosky, West Vigo High School Principal Thomas Balitewicz, Gail Artis of the Vigo County School Corp., Sara Laughlin, West Vigo High School art teacher, Wendy Wilkerson, Indianapolis Museum of Art tour director and, last but not least, Superintendent Daniel Tanoos for his continued support of our students and the arts.
— Anna Lee Chalos-McAleese