The 2023–2024 school year is officially in full swing! As students and educators return their classrooms, we’re taking this opportunity to share some information about how to book a guided or self-guided school tour at any of our three locations. Plus, we’ve included a few imaginative artworks created by students on a field trip to the Olympic Sculpture Park to give you an idea of the type of artistic activities your students will take part in while visiting any of SAM’s locations.
All school tours at the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Asian Art Museum, and the Olympic Sculpture Park are image-focused and inquiry-based experiences designed for K–12 students. Guided tours are led by trained guides who encourage students to look closely, share personal perspectives, and build connections to their lives and learning. Following this in-gallery experience, students are invited to get creative through an art workshop supported by SAM educators, teachers, chaperones, and/or volunteers. Meanwhile, self-guided tours allow educators to customize their museum experience by leading their own tours through the galleries.
In the 2022–2023, we’re proud to have served more than 5,500 students across 235 school tours. Of these tours, 154 took place at the Seattle Art Museum, 36 took place at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, and 26 took place at the Olympic Sculpture Park. This year, we intend to host more tours and provide even more students across Washington State with an exciting educational and artistic experience.
Ready to book a school tour for your classroom? Click here to check availability and plan your visit to SAM!
Jacob Lawrence’s iconic series Struggle: From the History of the American People retells key moments in this country’s early history and centers the underrepresented contributions of Black Americans, Indigenous Americans, and women. Lawrence’s vision is an inspiration to young people today as they reflect on historic times. Created in partnership with South End Stories and Mr Santos Creations, this video features insights from Seattle Public School students, past and present. Delbert Richardson, founder and curator of the American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths, contextualizes this iconic work of American art and draws connection to our current times, from Crispus Attucks to Black Lives Matter. Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle is on view through May 23, 2021.
Terrence Jeffrey Santos Regional Emmy Awardee for Cinematography (2016), The Otherside Documentary Design Director of Video Production, UW Athletics Marketing Department (2010-2015) @filipinxfoodseattle @musangtinos @anaktoykompany @loveandpicnics
Donte Felder Donte is the founder and Executive Director at South End Stories (one of our new community partners) where they focus on Trauma-Informed Arts Practice: Healing Through History and Creativity. Donte is a former SPS educator and has been the recipient of WEA’s Humanitarian Award as well as Washington’s Golden Apple Award. Donte comes from a family of seasoned educators and community leaders focused on pursuing social justice by developing anti-racist and anti-oppression practices in schools and communities. southendstories-artsed.com
Bayje Felder has been acting since the age of 5. She has starred in productions through Stone Soup Theater, Stage Struck, Columbia City Youth Theater Group, Orca K-8 Drama Program, and South End Stories. Some of Bayje’s favorite roles were as Charlie, in an Orca Drama reboot, Lavendar in Matilda the Musical, and as Hamilton in the Stage Struck Summer Program. Bayje is 13, enjoys soccer, basketball, baking, singing, hanging with her best friends, and playing with her pets Tyson the hedgehog and Kairo the Akita. Bayje’s favorite mottos are “Be yourself because everyone is taken.” And “Live everyday like it’s your last.”
Cece Chan is an activist and educator from Seattle, Washington who uses she/her/hers pronouns. She is a second year student at Pacific Lutheran University where she is the student body president and a double major in Gender, Sexuality, and Race Studies and Communications with a concentration in Media Studies. Her passions include decolonizing and diversifying systems of education, criminal justice, and healthcare. She is recognized for her film, For the Culture: An Ethnic Studies Documentary and her curriculum writing with South End Stories. She is, as she describes herself, an imperfect yet fearless leader.
Savannah Blackwell is a senior at Franklin High School and will attend Howard University in the fall. She has performed all over Seattle including the Moore theater with More Music @ the Moore 2019, the Paramount for their annual fundraiser, and the Benaroya Hall, also in 2019, with IBuildBridges. Savannah has participated in several plays & musicals. Some of her favorite roles have been Alice in Alice In Wonderland, a Doowop girl in Little Shop of Horrors, and Dorothy in The Wiz. Savannah believes in the power of music and arts and is grateful she’s able to use it as a vehicle for change and connection.
Mr. Delbert Richardson is a Community Scholar, Ethnomuseumologist, and Second Generation Storyteller, Owner of Global Unspoken Truths, LLC and President, of the National Awarding Winning American History Traveling Museum: The “Unspoken” Truths. With the use of authentic artifacts, storyboards, and the ancient art of “storytelling,” Mr. Richardson teaches “American History” through an afrocentric lens. His work is broken into four sections: Mother Africa, which focuses on the many contributions by Africans in the area of science, technology engineering, and mathematics (S.T.E.M.); American Chattel Slavery, the brutal treatment and psychological impacts on African Americans of the Diaspora; The Jim Crow era, the racial caste system that focused on the creation and enforcement of legalized segregation; and Still We Rise, which focuses on the many contributions in the Americas and Black inventors/inventions. Mr. Richardson’s work is geared towards K-12 students as well as professional development training for (primarily) white female teachers that make up over 79% of the national teaching force. Diversity, equity, and inclusion training is also a part of Mr. Richardson’s portfolio. Awards: 2013 National Campus Compact Newman Fellow, 2017 National Education Assoc. (NEA) Human and Civil Rights, 2019 Seattle Mayor Arts, 2019 Seattle Crosscut Courage in Culture, 2020 Assoc. of King County Org. (AKCHO) Heritage Education, 2020-2021 National Maquis Who’s Who.
The Seattle Asian Art Museum reopens February 8 and we want to be
sure you know all the free and discounted ways that you can visit the
reimagined and reinstalled museum!
Even though the Housewarming:
Free Reopening Weekend is sold out and we are not accepting walkups on
February 8 or 9, there are many other opportunities to visit for free. Today’s
Seattle Asian Art Museum breaks
boundaries to offer a thematic, rather than geographic or chronological,
exploration of art from the
world’s largest continent. The restoration of the historic Art Deco building,
improvements to critical systems, expanded gallery and education spaces, and a
new park lobby that connects the museum to the surrounding Volunteer Park are
just some of the ways the Asian Art Museum has been transformed and preserved
as a cultural and community resource for future generations.
An important part of the work that took place while the Asian Art
museum was closed for renovation and expansion isn’t something you will notice
about the architecture or art. The City of Seattle financially supported the
preservation and improvements of SAM’s city-owned Art Deco home and in return,
we made a commitment to offer more free ways for members of the community to visit
the Asian Art Museum!
Many programs such as lectures, performances, and tours at the museum are free and include free entry to the galleries. Check out our Free First Saturdays series for kids!
SAM provides discounted rates for students, teens, seniors, and military with ID.
Seniors (65+) and military can visit for $12.99
Students and teens age 15–18 can get tickets for $9.99
Children (14 & under) are always free.
SAM members are free. Join today and RSVP to see the museum before it opens to the public during the Members Open House on February 5 and 6.
First Saturdays and the Second Thursdays of every month are free to all.
The First Friday of every month the Asian Art Museum is free for seniors.
Bring a group of 10 or more and get discounted tickets. Find out more about group visits!
Educators can visit for free anytime with ID. Mark your calendars for a special Educator Open House at the Asian Art Museum on February 27!
Did you know that we now offer free school tours for all public schools at all SAM locations? We also offer bus subsidies for title 1 schools. School tours at the Asian Art Museum start march 1—find out more!
A new school year often welcomes crisp air, spiral notebooks, and pumpkin deliciousness. This school year brings one other exciting change: Seattle Art Museum school tours will now be free for all public schools at all SAM locations! Bus subsidies are also available for Title 1 schools. Offering free tours for public schools grew out of SAM’s mission and strategic plan to champion access and equity for all. The museum firmly believes every student deserves access to high-quality arts education and creative learning.
Even though the arts remain a required school subject by Washington State law, arts education is often one of the first programs to be cut. According to ArtsEd Washington, “In Washington State, 75% of elementary students receive only two hours, or less, of arts education each week.” Not only that, but Create Advantage Seattle notes, “Race, family income, and home language are all predictors of a students’ access to arts education in Seattle Public Schools.”
Research reveals that consistent arts education improves high school graduation rates, empathy, motivation to stay in school, critical thinking, voter turnout, and even raises math scores. Arts Impact says, “Arts-infused learning in reading and math eliminates the achievement gap between children of color and poverty and their white upper/middle-class peers.” Also, SAM’s Kayla Skinner Deputy Director for Education and Public Engagement, Regan Pro, strongly believes in furthering arts education. “Everyone talks about how they value things like creativity and innovation. If we are saying that but aren’t supporting arts in schools, then how do we expect those muscles to grow?”
tours at SAM start with a warm welcome from a trained docent or tour guide and a
teaching artist. The docent or tour guide leads the group into SAM’s galleries
where students and teachers might stare into the eyes of a giant mouse
sculpture, learn the history behind Kwakwaka’wakw house posts, or discover a
treasure chest lock in the Porcelain Room. With three locations and art from
all over the world, tours can complement and enhance any curriculum.
After the tour, SAM’s
teaching artists facilitate an art-making experience based on the works that
students just saw in the galleries. Students walk away holding their own work
of art, such as a three-dimensional sculpture, a two-point perspective
painting, or a self-designed family crest. Plus, teaching artists provide
students with an opportunity to view potential career paths in the arts.
“Being in the art museum was a new experience for many of my students. They were intrigued and, to my surprise, were able to connect with some artists. I feared they would find the museum too “high-brow,” but the variety of art allowed most to connect in some way.”
In addition to free school tours, SAM has continued to develop school partnerships. One of those partnerships, called “Drawing from Nature,” is now in its fourth year. Through this partnership, SAM offers all second graders in Highline School District a chance to explore the Olympic Sculpture Park. Building off these field trips, SAM provides lesson plans and professional development sessions to teachers. Furthermore, SAM is partnering with Seattle Public Schools on a new program at the Seattle Asian Art Museum when it reopens in early 2020. This partnership supports third through fifth-grade teachers as they build connections between art and social studies.
“This was an amazing experience and many of the themes were continued to talk about and apply in other subject areas.”
SAM’s Senior Manager of School & Educator Programs, Anna Allegro, says school partnerships provide students with a sense of ownership of SAM. “We’ll work with a school for five years, the kids will come every year, and they just have this sense of ownership and comfort. It’s so different from when they first walked in where SAM might have felt like an intimidating kind of space. Our goal is that students know they can be seen and heard here.”
With SAM’s partnerships and free school tours, the
museum is honored to support arts education and creative
learning for all young people whilst continuing the goal to promote equity and
access for all. As much as art museums play a role in advancing arts education,
this mission extends beyond our four walls to everyone in the community.
“Everyone can be an advocate for arts education. If you’re a parent, talk to your principal. Talk to your PSA. Ask them how they are supporting the arts. How is that a part of their classroom? If you’re a grandparent or if you live in a neighborhood, understand what the public school is in your neighborhood and how you can help support it.”
If you have ever attended Free First Saturdays at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, you have experienced one of SAM’s most dynamic programs for community members of all ages—a program that often brought over 2,000 families to the museum. From dance and music performances to hands-on art activities and films that families could enjoy together, these programs were appealing to so many people that, at times, the museum was filled to capacity.
Now that the Asian Art Museum renovation and expansion project is underway, we can start to better imagine the updated building filled with the museum’s lively programming. “Free First Saturdays are an important program for us, especially because we see a lot of families from the neighborhood and beyond attending. In the expanded building, we will be able to accommodate more people and offer more activities during Free First Saturdays,” explains Regan Pro, SAM’s Kayla Skinner Deputy Director for Education and Public Engagement.
A larger multi-purpose boardroom and a new art studio space are elements of the expansion that will enable popular programs like Free First Saturdays to welcome more visitors. Accessibility will also be improved. The museum’s renovated auditorium stage will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and will feature improved sightlines and audio-visual capabilities that will better support the museum’s performances, films, and lectures, as well as the many programs offered through the Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas.
The renovated building will also provide much-needed space for K–12 students to engage with the museum’s collections and exhibitions through the Guided Tours & Art Workshops program. The new art studio will give students the opportunity to create art alongside professional teaching artists as part of their visits. Additionally, all K–12 public school tours at the Asian Art Museum will be free, making the program more accessible to young learners from across the community.
Innovative learning opportunities will also be incorporated directly into the Seattle Asian Art Museum galleries. SAM educators are designing a new smartphone experience for students and visitors that will offer a range of perspectives on the collection. Listeners will have the chance to hear from experts on Asian art, as well as local voices from the community, who will share their personal stories and insights. An interactive learning gallery will offer the chance to explore works from the Asian Art Museum’s permanent collection more deeply, and a new community gallery will provide a space to showcase works of art by students and nonprofit youth organizations.
Many of the new programs that will take place in the renovated museum are being developed around the idea of sharing stories. “We’re really centering on the theme of stories—community stories and object stories,” Pro elaborates. “We will be asking people to bring their own lived and learned experiences that connect with the works on view.” As we count down the days until visitors and communities fill the Asian Art Museum once again, we are eagerly awaiting the many stories, old and new, that will unfold within its renovated spaces.
We are grateful to the Freeman Foundation and the Ann P. Wyckoff Endowment for their support of K-12 programs at the Seattle Asian Art Museum; and Delta Air Lines for its support of Family & Community programs.
In the months ahead, we will continue exploring the history and the future of the Seattle Asian Art Museum as the renovation progresses towards the much-anticipated re-opening in late 2019. Learn more about the project!
– Erin Langner, freelance arts writer
Images: Rendering courtesy of LMN Architects. Photos: Jen Au
After exploring works by many women artists in the Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris and Elles: SAM exhibitions, how can students be encouraged to make personal reflections? How can they explore the ideas and challenges provoked by these works of art? Can this reflection be a creative personal exploration of their own experience?
In SAM’s school tour art workshops, professional Teaching Artists engage school groups of all ages with these questions. Teaching Artists are employed by SAM to enrich our education programs with hands-on arts projects that provide an additional way of learning and understanding the art students see on their tours. These projects encourage students to take on art and creativity to express their own experiences. Each teaching artist holds a different background in art and in teaching. They are all professionally trained artists and teachers and come to SAM to join both art and education in one place. Here in our art studios students can explore their own artistic creativity with the guidance of working artists.
The art workshop developed for the Elles: Pompidou exhibition focuses on issues of identity, gender and stereotypes. Gender Stereotyping, or standardized portrayals of males and females, is something everyone witnesses in everyday life. In the streets, in a classroom, in our communities and homes there are images attached to certain gender roles. In the Ellesart workshop students are asked to think about commonplace assumptions of the roles and images that can be attributed to women and men. Sometimes these standardized attributes can be hard to see and should be observed more closely to get to the root of how stereotyping has shaped our ideas of gender.
What better way to explore associated relationships amongst an assortment of stereotypes than in a collage? Students look through popular and vintage magazines to find images that speak to them about familiar gender stereotypes. They collage these images, advertisements and words onto a poster. The poster presents bold statements through eye-catching images, questioning media messages. Some collages contain vibrant colors and blunt phrases with pictures from women’s magazines. These collages explore challenges about what women are expected to be: a lady, a housewife, a mother, a cook, or a lover.
Images are taken out of their intended context to make us re-examine where we feel they belong and why. The collage collects art and experience into one gathering place and so doing, beckons us as viewers to question how we look and what symbols we associate to certain gender roles.
All SAM’s School Tours can be joined with an Art Workshop, each of which integrates a project related to the themes of the tour. All our Teaching Artists have been working at SAM for several years and are extremely experienced in presenting art in an encouraging, accessible way for students of all ages. Come by our Chase Open Studio on the Grand Staircase where many of the student art projects are showcased and where visitors are welcome to make their own art during their tour of the museum.
My name is Paige Smith. I work in the School & Educator Programs Department at the Seattle Art Museum. I have interned and worked at SAM for a little over a year now, and in all of my different positions I’ve learned so much about the museum’s role as an educational institution. My current position as the School Tour Greeter has given me the most exposure to how important educators are to the museum and the critical role they play in bringing art and people together. I have a great admiration for educators and a strong personal and professional goal to become an educator, thus the opportunity to work with school tour groups and with SAM’s wonderful Docents seemed not only a great experience for me, but also sounded fun! The School Tour Greeter serves as mainly a liaison between school groups who come for a tour and the Docents who lead the tours. In this position I communicate with Docents about any extra information they may need to know about their school tour group. I also make sure the Teaching Artists are in the art studios and prepared for the school groups that join their tour with an art workshop.
Docents play an essential role as educators in the museum. Observing their strengths in educating all types of groups has been very inspiring. Docents are volunteers who apply to become a touring guide for school, public, and private tours. They endure a lot of training and lead many types of themed tours for all the permanent collection and special exhibition galleries at all three SAM sites ( SAM downtown, The Seattle Asian Art Museum, and Olympic Sculpture Park). I get to witness an incredible exchange between students, docents, and teachers as they prepare for their venture into the art galleries.
As the students and teachers enter the museum they move all in one organic mass. Sometimes entering as one herd, shuffling close together, or sometimes entering more fluidly, spreading out as their minds ponder the new open space they’ve filtered into: the museum. Docents greet them eagerly and the relationship between guide and school group begins. Students of different ages present different kinds of energy and the Docents can interpret and immediately bounce off this energy with much enthusiasm, friendliness, encouragement and leadership. I’ve seen Docents lead all ages of students from little kindergarten tots to angsty high schoolers and they handle them all differently. I had a conversation with docents Karin Roth and Ann Hardy about guiding a group of kindergarten students after their tour. Karin was very excited about how engaged her group was. She said it was very different from her experiences guiding high school students because of how eager these young toddlers were to engage themselves in what they were seeing, whereas teenagers are often more reserved or can be preoccupied with other teen worries or social dynamics. They both enjoy any group type but Karin was exhilarated by how differently they interact with her and how she was able to gear her tour towards their responses.
Docents cater their language, questions, and explanations to the age and the types of group dynamics they observe from the start. The distance the group has come, the type of school they attend, and teacher they come with all influence the dynamic of the group. It is exciting to watch how docents can read the dynamic and then accentuate different aspects of the museum and exhibits to encourage the group’s particular interest and intellect as much as they can.
Docents come from a diverse background of different professions and experience with teaching, but I cannot emphasize enough how devoted each Docent is to bringing art and art history into a personal level of connection for each student. As educators of the museum SAM Docents bring a whole world of knowledge and adventure to the experiences of each individual school group, and every tour is a different adventure!