NOMA Shares New Youth and Wellness Programs, Announces Sara Lowenburg as Director of Education

Visitors at Family Day: Say Cheese! in November 2022. Photos by Taylor Simone, courtesy of the New Orleans Museum of Art.

NOMA Shares New Youth and Wellness Programs, Announces Sara Lowenburg as Director of Education
Additional programs for kids and families, including social-emotional learning workshops and Art in the Afternoon programs, will bolster the museum’s roster of offerings designed to inspire and develop lifelong learning at the museum.

Lowenburg joined the museum in August 2023 from the Louisiana State Museum.

NEW ORLEANS – This winter and spring, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) introduces a suite of new public programs designed to bolster the organization’s commitment to inspiring learning through the arts for visitors of all ages. In addition to new programs, the museum announced that Sara Lowenburg joined the museum as Director of Education.

“Our institutional mission is to engage audiences of all ages and all backgrounds through the arts,” said Dr. Redell Hearn, NOMA’s Chief Educator, who leads the museum’s learning and engagement department. “Our learning and engagement department brings together a breadth of skills and experience from the museum field and the classroom, and I am delighted to welcome Sara Lowenburg and work with her to lead a dynamic and passionate team of educators.”

Before joining NOMA in August 2023, Lowenburg was Director of Education at the Louisiana State Museum and worked in education departments at the Intrepid Museum and the Museum at Eldridge Street in New York. A native of the New Orleans area, Lowenburg holds a master’s degree in museum studies from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College.

“In the six months I have been at NOMA, I’ve already gotten the opportunity to work with a wide range of audiences,” said Lowenburg. “I look forward to building on my work across the city to best serve our current audiences and invite new visitors to the museum.” 

Starting in the coming weeks, the museum is offering new social emotional learning workshops, an Art in the Afternoon series for families, and wellness offerings for adults in partnership with local fitness initiative Move Ya Brass.

“The New Orleans Museum of Art is a leader in museum education trends that include life-long learning, early childhood education, apprentice opportunities for teens, and strengthening community connections with a focus on accessibility and wellness.”

Expanding on current educational programs, NOMA is introducing two new offerings for youth:

  • Social Emotional Learning Workshops (Ages 6 and Up)On Saturday, March 9, the museum will host the first social-emotional learning (SEL) workshops for ages 6 and up. Highlighting works of art on view at the museum, each workshop will use the SEL educational framework, which focuses on recognizing and managing emotions, setting positive goals, demonstrating caring and concern for self and others, and maintaining positive relationships.Programs will include art-making, close-looking, storytime, and movement-based activities and are produced in partnership with NOMA’s Teen Art Council, a cohort of creative high school students and youth leaders who serve as ambassadors for the museum.

    The Saturday, March 9 workshop will take inspiration from Margaret T.G. Burroughs’s Self-Portrait and centers around themes of self-esteem and empowerment. This program will feature a healing movement session with Shanda Domango Brown.

    Free with museum admission. Registration is available online: 

  • Art in the Afternoon (For Families)During new Art in the Afternoon programs, families are invited to spend an afternoon inside at the museum or outside in NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden, learning about an object from NOMA’s permanent collection or a special exhibition, engaging in art-making activities, and enjoying a story with teaching artists. This program is designed for families with kids of all ages.
    The first program in this series is on Wednesday, March 27, 3–5 pm, and will look at Wangechi Mutu’s In Two Canoe, on view in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden as part of the artist’s retrospective Intertwined.
    Free with museum admission. General admission to NOMA is free every Wednesday for Louisiana residents courtesy of The Helis Foundation. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden is free and open to the public seven days a week. Registration is available online:

“We are committed to finding new and creative ways for families and young visitors to learn about art and engage with NOMA’s permanent collection and special exhibitions,” said Dr. Hearn. “These two new offerings will help us serve visitors of all ages—adding to a robust roster of programs designed to ignite and develop lifelong learning from a young age.”

Krewe Des Fleurs at Family Day: A Walk in the Garden in NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden in December 2023. Photo by Taylor Simone, courtesy of the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Ongoing youth and family offerings include:

  • Mini Masters (Ages 2–5 Years)
    A collaborative arts integration program for pre-kindergarten students, Mini Masters uniquely blends works of art from the New Orleans Museum of Art with a state-standard curriculum. Created by NOMA in 2012, Mini Masters encourages students to develop higher-order thinking skills, make observations, and engage in conversations through museum visits and in-classroom activities. NOMA currently works with Mini Masters students at the following schools: Clover Academy, Educare New Orleans, ReNew – Laurel Elementary, ReNew – Delores T. Aaron Academy, and ReNew Schaumburg Elementary.
    Since 2022, NOMA and the New Orleans Public Library (NOPL) have collaborated on a series of Mini Masters at the Library to bring together art and early literacy activities for kids ages 2–5 and their caregivers. These programs are free and open to the public with advanced registration and are held at the NOPL’s Norman Mayer Library.
    Mini Masters at the Library will resume this summer.
  • Studio KIDS! (Ages 6–9 and 10–12)
    NOMA’s youth art-making workshops take inspiration from the artwork on view at the museum and in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Programs include gallery visits and art-making on site at the museum.
    The next Studio KIDS! program is on Saturday, March 16, and participants will look at the sculpture of Louisiana-born artist Lynda Benglis. Registration is available at the following link:
  • Free Family Days (All Ages)
    The museum presents biannual celebrations, providing free admission to families of all ages, including gallery talks, interactive art-making, performances, and pop-ups with partner organizations across the city.
    The next family day—scheduled for Saturday, April 20—takes inspiration from the current exhibition Wangechi Mutu: Intertwined and Mutu’s works installed in NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
  • Summer Camp (Ages 6–12)
    NOMA’s summer camps are grounded in experiences with art in NOMA’s collection, special exhibitions, and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Campers explore the galleries to engage in close looking and use conversations about artworks as a launching-off point to develop critical thinking skills, connect with others, and deepen personal identity and creativity. Camps emphasize an interdisciplinary approach to creative thinking and art-making.
    This year’s summer camp sessions occur between June 10 and July 19. Registration is now open:
  • Teen Art Council (Grades 9–12)
    NOMA’s Teen Art Council (TAC) is a cohort of creative high school students and youth leaders who serve as ambassadors for the museum. TAC members meet weekly throughout the school year to plan programming for teen and youth audiences, meet with museum staff, participate in creative experiences with artworks and artists, and more. TAC allows high school students to engage deeply with the museum over time based on their individual perspectives and interests.
    TAC’s annual Teen Night—open to youth across the city—is scheduled for Friday, May 17.

A Move Ya Brass class in fall 2023 in NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden.Courtesy of the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Additionally, the museum shared information about expanded wellness offerings presented in partnership with Move Ya Brass, an initiative started by local jazz vocalist Robin Barnes offering free fitness classes.

“Building on an initial class last fall, we are excited to partner with Move Ya Brass to expand our wellness programming with offerings for higher intensity workouts and more intentional meditation,” said Dr. Hearn.

  • Expanded Wellness Offerings with Move Ya Brass
    Starting earlier this month, Move Ya Brass is offering free classes in NOMA’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden. These programs will complement the museum’s weekly yoga (every Saturday morning) and tai chi (select Monday and Wednesday evenings) classes in the sculpture garden.


Media Contacts

Charlie Tatum
Director of Marketing and Communications
New Orleans Museum of Art

Ra’Jae’ Wolf
Marketing and Communications Associate
New Orleans Museum of Art


About NOMA and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden

The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and its Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden are home to innovative exhibitions, installations, educational programs, and research. Exploring human creativity across time, cultures, and disciplines, the global scope of the museum initiatives opens a vibrant dialogue with the history and culture of New Orleans. The museum stewards a collection of nearly 50,000 works, with exceptional holdings in African art, photography, decorative arts, and Japanese art, as well as strengths in American and French art and an expanding collection highlighting contemporary artists. The museum’s exhibitions and dynamic learning and engagement offerings serve as a forum for visitors to engage with diverse perspectives, share cultural experiences, and foster a life of learning for all ages. Recent exhibitions include Black Orpheus: Jacob Lawrence and the Mbari Club, Called to the Camera: Black American Studio Photographers, The Orléans Collection (an exhibition of forty European masterpieces from the collection of the city’s namesake, Philippe II, Duc d’Orléans), East of the Mississippi: Nineteenth Century America Landscape Photography, and Changing Course: Reflections on New Orleans Histories (seven contemporary art projects focusing on reimagining stories from the city’s past).

NOMA’s 12-acre Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden expands visitors’ experiences of the museum with one of the most notable sculpture gardens in the country. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden, free and open to the public seven days a week, has nearly 100 sculptures and outdoor works of art situated in a unique landscape featuring Spanish moss-laden live oaks and a sinuous lagoon surrounded by an expansive ecosystem of native plants. The works in the garden range from the 19th to the 21st centuries, with pieces by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Louise Bourgeois, Ida Kohlmeyer, Claes Oldenburg, Sean Scully, Maya Lin, Do Ho Suh, Ugo Rondinone, Wangechi Mutu, Hank Willis Thomas, and many others. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden features contemporary design elements—including a sculpture pavilion, an amphitheater, and an architecturally significant canal link bridge connecting the garden’s original 2003 footprint with a 2019 expansion. Its water management practices support the health and resiliency of New Orleans City Park and the surrounding environment. Throughout the year, NOMA hosts outdoor programs in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, including festivals, performances, wellness classes, tours, and more.