January 10, 2017

For immediate release

Contact: Robbin Zella 203-332-5052

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Awards $15,000 in Support of Housatonic Museum of Art’s Peer Docent Program

BRIDGEPORT, CT - The Housatonic Museum of Art (HMA) is proud to announce that it received a $15,000 from Fairfield County’s Community Foundation award to support its HMA Peer Docent Program. The HMA Peer Docent Program introduces Bridgeport middle school students to art and art history, teaching them to look at art critically and guiding classmates during tours. The grant will allow HMA Museum Educators to train 90 students to be docents who will guide 600 classmates on tours of Downtown Bridgeport, CT. Through the program, students develop visual, analytical and critical thinking skills that will assist them across academic disciplines and throughout their lifetimes.

The HMA Peer Docent Program is entering its fifteenth year of successfully introducing Bridgeport students to art and architecture in their communities and throughout the region.

“We are so pleased to receive this award as we continue to expand students’ understanding of the art that surrounds them,” said Robbin Zella, Director of HMA. “For the past four years, the program’s emphasis has been on local architecture with field trips to visit architectural icons such as the Glass House in New Canaan, CT and the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City. For this coming year, we will partner with HCC’s Manufacturing Center that houses several 3-D printers which will allow students to create and print their own architectural designs.”

The HMA Peer Docent Program is a nine-week arts enrichment program providing Bridgeport middle school students with an opportunity to use object-based inquiry to practice observing, questioning, discussing, and learning about art and ideas. The program consists of six school-site training sessions, two field trips to the HMA where Museum Educators model docent training, and eventually where peer docents lead their classmates on tours, as well as a third field trip to another historically significant architectural site. The HMA utilizes its permanent collection to enhance the Program, which is modeled upon Harvard University’s Project Zero’s Guided-Inquiry Method and sub-program Project MUSE (Museums Uniting with Schools in Education), and the Aldrich Museum’s Peer Docent Program.

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation promotes philanthropy as a means to create change in Fairfield County, focusing on innovative and collaborative solutions to critical issues impacting the community. Individuals, families, corporations, and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Community Foundation is in compliance with the Council of Foundations’ national standards, and has awarded over $207 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. For more information please visit: www.fccfoundation.org.

The Housatonic Museum of Art is home to one of the most significant art collections of any two-year college in the United States. On display and open to the public, this collection includes works by modern and contemporary masters as well as stunning examples of the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. With more than 10,000 people visiting the Museum each year, it continues to be recognized as a major cultural resource for the Greater Bridgeport region. For more information about Housatonic museum of Art please visit: www.HousatonicMuseum.org.