Art Goes to School

In this award-winning program, fourth and fifth grade students learn about art, history, art production, and art analysis. Students’ involvement includes active participation and lively discussion of artworks as well as exploration and understanding of the world’s rich cultural past.

This art history and art appreciation program has six major goals:

  • to introduce Western art history
  • to define and use art and art history vocabulary
  • to introduce ethnographic art history
  • to highlight major artists
  • to enhance critical analysis skills to build self-esteem

Staff at the Museum train the volunteer docents with art history knowledge and discussion techniques. Volunteers go to schools within the surrounding counties and present slide units. The Museum provides slides, follow-up art-related activity sheets, and each classroom teacher with the AGTS Teacher’s Packet to ensure that the students enjoy all the benefits of these goals.

If you are interested in bringing Art Goes to School to your school, please contact Eric Birkle at

Art Across the Curriculum: Artful Explorations that Make Thinking Visible

The Saginaw Art Museum’s new and reorganized Art Across the Curriculum (AATC) program will foster creative thinking and expose participants to the world of arts and culture and its relationship and importance to the greater world of academic study. An exploratory program, AATC is specifically designed for high-school students at the junior and senior level, but is open to all high schoolers who are interested in learning more about professions in the fine art world, and who may be interested in pursuing degrees in fine art, art history, museology, art theory, and cultural studies. Sessions will be led by the Saginaw Art Museum’s Associate Curator of Arts & Education, Eric Birkle.

AATC will take place over the course of two (2) consecutive months, with meetings every other week on Mondays from 5:30pm–7:30pm. Each session will be two (2) hours in length, for a total program length of eight (8) hours. To sign up for this FREE educational program, please contact Eric at, or call the museum at 989.754.2491.

Spring 2017

March 13 Museums: Past, Present, and Your Future

Participants will be given a brief overview of the program and taken on a general tour of the Saginaw Art Museum. Then, students will learn about how museums came into being, and how modern museums operate. Throughout this discussion, students will be exposed to the plethora of career possibilities that lie within the walls of a fine art museum. Finally, they will be asked to consider such careers as possibilities for their own futures, and to compare and contrast them with other career options in other fields.

March 27 The Story Behind the Paintings

This AATC session will help students to see and understand the unique story that each work of art has to tell by instructing them in art history, art theory, and interpretation techniques. In the later portions of the session, students will be asked to choose a work of art from the museum’s permanent collection to interpret and analyze through a brief writing exercise. In doing so, they will improve their analytical and observational skills.

April 10 The Many Methods in Artmaking

This week’s session will be rooted in the study of artmaking and artistry. Students will be exposed to the wide variety of methods and techniques used by artists throughout the world and throughout history, and the capabilities of various materials. Works and artists from SAM’s permanent collection will be examined, along with several other iconic artists.

April 24 Connections and Creations

Students will be encouraged to reflect on the creative process and its varying forms, and will learn about the formal elements in art as well as how artmaking in itself can become a career. They will then be asked to create a work of art themselves, and will be provided with the necessary materials, time, and instruction to do so.