By Kimberley Singletary | The New Orleans Advocate
Finish this sentence: "Art makes me ..."
Maybe art makes you see the beauty in life. Maybe it inspires you to learn, to create or just feel an emotion. However you would finish that statement, the New Orleans Museum of Art wants to hear about it.
NOMA, in partnership with IberiaBank, is conducting a city-wide arts education initiative called "Art Makes Me" that encourages people of all ages to post their stories of experiences with art on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #ArtMakesMe.
From now through the end of the year, shared stories will be posted on a wall in the museum's Creative Concept Studio. The three most inspiring stories will be rewarded with a 12-month NOMA family membership.
The aim of the new initiative is to increase conversation on the importance of art.
Last year NOMA's arts education programs served 11,426 students, but the museum aims to double those numbers and reach 25,000 schoolchildren and their families each year - more than half of all students enrolled in local public schools.
"Art Makes Me" is only one of the ways NOMA is reaching out to the community.
Entries will be accepted through Oct. 18 for NOMA's Odyssey 2014 Student Art Contest and Exhibition. The contest invites students in grades kindergarten through 12 from Orleans and Jefferson Parishes to submit a piece of art. Winning artists in first through third places, plus two honorable mention pieces in four grade level categories, will be exhibited at NOMA later this fall and the young artists will be invited to attend the "Photorealism: The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Collection" Artist Talk on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 2:30 p.m.
NOMA's next StudioKIDS! art class is planned for Oct. 18. Designed for children ages 5 to 10, in each two-hour class the children will be educated about a specific famed artist and then guided in creating their own piece inspired by that artist's creation. Classes are every other Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon through Dec. 13 and are $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers. The Oct. 18 StudioKIDS! will highlight Louise Bourgeois' spider in the Sculpture Garden and lead children in sculpting their own spider out of wire.
For the slightly younger audience, ages 2-7, NOMA offers StoryQuest. Free with admission, this program invites small children and their families to come to the NOMA Museum Shop every other Saturday at 11:30 a.m. to witness professional artists, actors and authors sharing stories from children's literature. Following the storytelling portion, families can participate in an activity designed to encourage museum exploration.
For information on all of NOMA's arts education programs, visit www.noma.org.