Back to School with New Eyes on Asia Educator Resources

Returning to school for K–12 students and educators not only means the beginning of a new school year, but also returning to in-person classrooms, in many cases. Around this time last year, the School & Educators team at SAM was working closely with our school and community partners on modifying the resources that had been created for the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s 2020 reopening, which were designed for in-person groups at the museum or in the classroom. In the following months, those programs pivoted from an in-person museum visit with related educator resources to a guided virtual experience featuring interactive Eyes on Asia videos.

Throughout the development of Asian art educational resources, we have consistently sought the input of those whose work is closest to youth and families. When the prospect of a fully remote 2020–21 school year became clear, we surveyed the educators that had been involved in our school partnerships for their insights on how best to meet the needs of students without high-speed internet, specialized art supplies, and/or the capacity to regularly attend online classes. Based on their feedback, we began developing Asian art resources that could be used in a virtual classroom or on their own. Instead of providing information on many artworks, we created differentiated ways to explore one object. In this way, an educator would be able to facilitate a sense of shared learning among students, even if they were not following the exact same steps.

SAM staff prepare to shoot a scene from the Eyes on Asia video series.

Working with local videographer Ellison Shieh, the School & Educators team shot three videos in October 2020. Ellison’s experience at the intersection of documentary filmmaking and historical preservation, as seen in their work on “Chinatown-International District: Bush Garden” in #VanishingSeattle’s award-winning series, was incredibly helpful in cultivating a space of learning in the Eyes on Asia videos. In the coming months, we shared these videos and related resources with educators across many school districts, including Seattle Public Schools and Highline Public Schools. Not only was it a joy to see students engaging with SAM’s Asian art collection in a new way, but educators provided feedback as well. In a focus group with educators that used these videos in their classrooms during the 2020–21 school year, participants shared their thoughts on the importance of student engagement and creative responses:

“The [activity] was just cool. They were super excited about it and like, ‘Do we get to work on this again tomorrow?’”

“I’m always looking for projects that have that balance of structure to help them build skills and then having it be really creative. It fit really well with that . . . . And I loved it because it shows that they are thinking about what is inspiring for them and what will help them be really creative.”

“I’ve been really trying to have a lot of local artists and artists from diverse backgrounds who are currently working that my kids can connect with because they just love to see young, active working artists that look like them. . . . That’s something that I know I would love to get more of.”

In May 2021, after integrating educator feedback, we shot a second round of videos with Ellison. For this second round, SAM invited teaching artist Amina Quraishi to design and lead art activities inspired by works of art on view at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. In Amina’s activity, she reflects on how Islamic artists in the past have been inspired by the natural world around them. Creating a pattern based on Palampore (bed covering), she reminds us that the process is as important as the product when creating art.

While remote classrooms have now transitioned to hybrid or in-person, we hope that all the Eyes on Asia videos will help educators integrate a strengths-based approach with students, emphasizing their resilience and creativity over the past eighteen months. During this past year, we learned that teachers can adapt interactive video content in their classrooms, looking at works of art in SAM’s collection with their students before or after a future museum visit. With a specific focus on BIPOC artists and cultures underrepresented in our current offerings, we aim to continue improving our work toward community involvement and youth-led learning.

Watch all of SAM’s Eyes on Asia videos on YouTube.

– Yaoyao Liu, Museum Educator, Seattle Asian Art Museum

Yaoyao develops K-12 programs and resources related to other works of contemporary Asian art at SAM.

Images: Robert Wade. Yaoyao Liu.

Asian Art Activity: Palampore

Inspired by a 19th-century Palampore, or bed covering, from SAM’s Asian art collection, teaching artist Amina Quraishi leads an art activity focused on shapes, patterns, and symmetry. With just a pencil, eraser, tracing paper, and a sheet of construction paper—and a few other optional art materials—Amina offers a tutorial on pattern building and repetition. Drawing from childhood memories of traveling to India and henna patterns applied to her hands in celebration of Eid al-Fitr, Amina encourages artists to think about meaningful objects and symbols in their culture. How can these be incorporated into the work?

Take a closer look at this Palampore and compare it to a contemporary work by artist Faig Ahmed by watching SAM’s Asian Art Spotlight: Oiling & Palampore video. And, find more educational videos of works on view at the Seattle Asian Art Museum in our Eyes on Asia Youtube playlist.

The Seattle Asian Art Museum is open, though school tours are not available at this time. SAM continues to connect art lovers of all ages to our rich collection of art through a variety of virtual experiences which align with Washington State learning standards in Visual Art and English Language Arts. The Eyes on Asia video series is designed to be used as a supplemental learning tool in virtual classrooms, at home by parents and caregivers, and by friends hanging out online. Once you’ve watched the videos in the playlist, visit the museum to see the featured artworks in person!

Photo: Amina Quraishi

Asian Art Spotlight: Oiling & Palampore

How do traditions evolve over time? Consider this question as you compare a historical example of a Palampore with Faig Ahmed’s Oiling, both on view at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Look closely at the intricate patterns, the symmetry (or lack thereof), and the ways in which order and disorder are portrayed in each artwork. What can you learn about the contemporary piece, Oiling, by looking closely at the Palampore?

This video brings together historical and contemporary works of art to show how traditions and modernity interact in our world today. A quick drawing activity offers a way of remotely engaging with the artworks and provides the foundation for a more in-depth art activity inspired by the Palampore in our Eyes on Asia YouTube playlist

The Seattle Asian Art Museum is open again though school tours are not available at this time. Aligned with Washington State learning standards in Visual Art and English Language Arts, the Eyes of Asia video series is meant to connect art lovers of all ages to the museum’s rich collection of art through a variety of virtual experiences and provide opportunity for creative response. Each video can be used in virtual classrooms, at home by parents and caregivers, or by friends hanging out online. Visit the museum in person to see these, and other artworks featured in the series!

Dance, Mudras, and Movement in Asian Art

The Seattle Asian Art Museum is open again and events continue to be virtual for the time being—so tune in to get creative and find inspiration through artworks and performances from across Asian cultures before your next visit to the museum! Learn about the different ways that Asian art can connect to dance and music with a performance by Hengda Dance Academy. Consider how body movement informs Asian art as we practice a variety of mudras based on sculptures at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Then create your own work of art inspired by movement, rhythm, and more with painter and printmaker Janet Fagan.

Family festivals at the Seattle Asian Art Museum connect families with performances, art activities, and other programming related to SAM’s Asian art collection.

Muse/News: Simply the Best, the Message in the Monument, and Send in the Bugs

SAM News

Seattle Met is out with their Best of the City features, including results of their reader survey. Who was selected as Best Museum? Why, the reimagined and re-reopened Seattle Asian Art Museum, that’s who!

And coming up downtown, by way of France’s Normandy Coast: Monet at Étretat. Preview and ArtfixDaily recently highlighted the exhibition, which opens to the public July 1.

Local News

Out now: Issue 2 of New Archives, the newest arts journal on the scene. Topics include art, healing, and joy from contributors including Carol Zou and Sharon Arnold.

Mark Van Streefkerk for South Seattle Emerald on In This Way We Loved One Another, an installation by Two-Spirit poet and interdisciplinary artist Storme Webber for Capitol Hill’s AIDS Memorial Pathway.

Crosscut’s Margo Vansynghel checks in with the 16 artists who created the Black Lives Matter mural on East Pine Street, one year later, including SAM collection artist Kimisha Turner, ARI Glass, Aramis O. Hamer, and more.

“All art forms have helped and continue to help us get through this collective dark night of the soul,” [Aramis O.] Hamer says. “Years in the future, I think we will speak of 2020 as being a Birth of a Renaissance.”

Inter/National News

In Artforum: A conversation between scholar Hanan Toukan and Palestinian Museum director Adila Laïdi-Hanieh about building an institution under colonialism.”

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the British fragrance brand Floral Street have teamed up to create scents inspired by the artist’s works, reports Artnet’s Naomi Rea.

The New York Times’ Jason Horowitz on how—and why!—an all-woman team of art restorers and scientists “quietly unleashed microbes with good taste and an enormous appetite” onto Michelangelo’s marble Medici Chapel in Florence.

And Finally

On view: Abandoned paintings.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM’s Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Natali Wiseman

Muse/News: Art of Asia, Rock ‘N’ Roll, and a Woman Leads the Louvre

SAM News

The Seattle Asian Art Museum is back! After a grand reopening in February 2020, the building was shuttered a month later by the pandemic. Excellent news, doors opened again to the public last Friday.

SAM curators FOONG Ping and Xiaojin Wu shared their excitement about the re-reopening with KOMO News, KING News, and KING’s Evening Magazine. They were joined by new SAM curator Natalia Di Pietrantonio to chat about three objects (out of the almost 400 on view!) with the Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig. Seattle Met highlighted the reopening, and SAM director Amada Cruz spoke with KIRO’s Dave Ross about this “21st-century museum hidden behind a 1933 Art Deco gem.” Get your tickets for June now!

Local News

Jasmyne Keimig of the Stranger reviews Gary Simmons’s show The Engine Room, now on view at the Henry Art Gallery. It includes a full-size “garage” for musicians to play in.

“A Surreal Night at Seattle’s First Music Venue to Reopen”: Seattle Met’s Stefan Milne gets back out there.

Seattle Times music writer Michael Rietmulder speaks with the local rock scene’s many leaders who are Black, people of color, and/or LGBTQ+ about the past & present of rock ‘n’ roll & race.

“Here’s the best part, my guy,” [Cameron] Lavi-Jones says. “It means we’re going to get a lot better [expletive] rock music. It means we’ll get way more powerful music, way more intentional music — music with stronger messages — because when Black and brown people are making things, this is second nature to us.”

Inter/National News

The Iconography of the Paris Commune, 150 Years Later”: Billy Anaia for Hyperallergic returns to the barricades for the sesquicentennial.

Artnet’s Sarah Cascone with “17 marvelous highlights from the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale,” in case you’re tired of looking at the same four walls.

Via the New York Times: The Louvre has appointed Laurence des Cars as its new president; she is the storied institution’s first female leader in all of its 228 years.

“She hopes to expand cultural collaborations with contemporary artists, and organize more exchanges with writers, musicians, dancers, filmmakers and designers. ‘Let’s not be afraid,’ she said.”

And Finally

Samaria Rice is the mother of Tamir.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Natali Wiseman

Muse/News: Magical Connections, Jazz Sculptures, and History’s Presence

SAM News

The Seattle Asian Art Museum reopens this week to members and will reopen to the public May 28. Margo Vansynghel of Crosscut visited the museum, which had its grand reopening in February 2020 before closing again on March 13, 2020, to see its reimagined galleries and learn what the closure meant for the curators and conservation team.

“To demonstrate the magic these new connections can create, Wu walks us to another dimly lit gallery, this one filled with delicate paper scrolls and book folios dedicated to the holy word. In one display case, two pieces of priceless paper seem to have been drenched in the night sky… On the surface, the two are linked by the shimmer of gold and tempestuous blue, but together they also suggest a power beyond words.”

KNKX also recommends a visit to the museum on their list of activities and events honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May. Curiocity recommends it, too, and it’s on the Stranger’s list of events for May.

The Seattle Times’ Megan Burbank launches a new visual arts column, On View; in her first edition, she includes Dawn Cerny: Les Choses, an installation of sculptures now on view at SAM.

Local News

Spend some time with the Stranger’s Ann Guo and The Station co-owner Leona Moore-Rodriguez, as they talk about coffee, community, and ̕90s R&B.

Seattle Met’s Stefan Milne has you covered on upcoming festivals in the region: what’s happening and what’s not.

In her weekly ArtSEA letter, Crosscut Brangien Davis highlights some public art now on view at the new Jackson Apartments complex, including an installation honoring Northwest jazz legends by Paul Rucker (the tonearm is a bench!).

“He hopes this piece is both enlightening and fun. ‘I’d love for it to be a place to do rubbings,’ he said, noting the inscribed names. ‘Or a place people take selfies. I want it to be like the Troll, that’s my dream.’”

Inter/National News

Billionaire art collector, philanthropist, and entrepreneur Eli Broad—a towering figure in the cultural scene of the United States, and most of all, in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles—has died at 87,” reports Artnet. 

Art in America’s “New Talent” issue was guest-edited by Antwaun Sargent and sees him “realize a decade-old fantasy” by bringing together a team of Black writers and critics. Read his editor’s letter and explore the new issue.

Tausif Noor for the New York Times on An American Project at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a retrospective survey of the work of photographer Dawoud Bey.

“Under Bey’s careful eye, history emerges as an active presence, authored in real time by individuals and societies who transform and are transformed by the continual unfolding of the past.”

And Finally

RIP, Olympia Dukakis.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Jueqian Fang
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