Reading The Museum
"26 works, 26 letters," the literacy project of the Centre national d'exposition in Jonquière (CNE), Québec, had its official launch on October 10 and will conclude in December. Participants from the Centre Alpha are learning about the visual arts and engaging in reading and writing by discovering 26 works and artists whose names begin with the 26 letters of the alphabet. Local artists are playing a key role in the project, including Astrid Brassard and Thérèse Fournier, two artists from Jonquière, who sparked learners' interest in the creative process. Attention is also being paid to such great artists as Cézanne, Gaugin and Titian. Rémi Lavoie, an educator at the CNE and the coordinator of the project, reports that it is proving to be very successful and he says that "Because the project had a wide range of activities, the groups are keen to come back for subsequent weeks' sessions. Meeting the artists gives the learners a personal perspective on what life is like for an artist. I am particularly pleased to know that the learners are also coming to the CNE on weekends, with their families, to visit our exhibitions." A full report on "26 works, 26 letters" will appear in the next issue of the newsletter.
The "Reading The Museum" program was very active during the past six months. Five demonstration projects, which were awarded in February 1998, were undertaken at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John, N.B.; the Centre national d'exposition in Jonquière, Québec; Eldon House, in London, Ontario; the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff, Alberta and the Fraser-Fort George Museum in Prince George, B.C. You can read about all of these projects in this issue.
Four more projects were chosen in a recent competition and will be undertaken during the Winter and Spring of 1999. The successful applicants and their literacy partners are listed in the above sidebar. Two other projects are ongoing. At the Pointe Adult Centre for Education (PACE) and the Carrefour d'éducation, two literacy organizations in Montréal's Pointe Ste. Charles area, learners are using a collection of family albums from the McCord Museum as inspiration for their writing and image-making activities. Curator and writer Martha Langford is co-ordinating this project, along with Vivian Wiseman at PACE and Joanne Bouffard at the Carrefour. The next issue of the newsletter will contain coverage of this project and of the continuing work being done by the Edmonton Art Gallery and Prospects Literacy Association. During the past year, learners from Prospects worked with writer and critic Reesa Greenberg to develop an audiotape that introduces visitors to galleries and art museums.
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