Episode 120

Values-Engaged Gallery Teaching with Andrew Westover

Published on: 25th January, 2024

Today I’m talking to Andrew Westover, Eleanor McDonald Storza Director of Education at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, about how values-engaged teaching can transform gallery experiences and foster deep connections.

Andrew Westover leads the learning team at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, focusing on connecting people with art and ideas to inspire civic life. In this role, Andrew develops initiatives, partnerships, and diverse programming to engage Atlanta's communities. 

Andrew previously served as the Keith Haring Director of Education at the New Museum in New York, shaping the vision for the education department. Their diverse experience includes roles at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum, and the Phoenix Art Museum. 

In this chat we’re exploring:

  • what values-engaged teaching is in a gallery setting and how it can be applied.
  • the importance of self-knowledge and understanding your own values as essential foundations for effective teaching in a gallery setting. 
  • the 5 values that underpin the work of High Museum of Art’s education department and how their work is rooted in listening, engaging in dialogue, building consensus, and designing spaces for various communities. 
  • how four key words—experiences, identities, affinities, and beliefs—serve as a bridge in connecting the museum's collections and exhibitions with its visitors. 
  • the importance of genuine connection in the museum, and how connection is essential for experiences to be meaningful and not merely a superficial interaction. 
  • practical strategies and examples of how to navigate conflict during gallery discussions, including a detailed example of addressing emotional responses

Andrew concludes by sharing tips for listeners  looking to adopt similar strategies for values-engaged teaching in their practice or organisation. 

There is so much in this conversation - you might want to have a pen and paper handy!

Links

Andrew Westover - High Museum of Art

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The Art Engager
Engage your audience with art and ideas
The Art Engager podcast is here to help educators, guides and creatives engage their audiences with art, objects and ideas. Each week I’ll be sharing a variety of easy-to-learn flexible techniques and tools to help you create participant-centred experiences that bring art and ideas to life.
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