Exploring The American Idea Through Art

Written by Lee Broderick |
Pictures by Eric Bergman

On April 26th, English Teacher Eric Bergman took his two junior English classes to the Yale Art Gallery in New Haven. Mr. Bergman took his students so that they could learn about the American Idea and how art reflects the American Idea. The American Idea is hope in the face of change and to have freedom of choice.

The students arrived in New Haven at 9:20 and had 40 minutes to walk around New Haven. Many people went to Starbucks, Subway, or Panera Bread. After the 40 minutes, the students met outside the art museum.

The students were greeted by three tours guides. The guides provided a quick description of the museum and explained how to hold the chairs. They then split the students into three groups.  Each group went with one tour guide to different paintings. The tour guides engaged the students by asking a couple questions about the paintings. There were 20 minute periods for each painting and there a total of 3 paintings which took an hour. After viewing the pictures with the tour guides,  the students were allowed to walk around the museum on their own. Some students walked around the museum, while others sat on the lower floor and answered some questions assigned by Mr. Bergman. At 12:00, students could go do anything they wanted. Most students went to go eat at ShakeShack, Five Guys, Subway, or another restaurant.

Mr. Bergman said  “Every year I take my English level 3 to Yale Art Gallery because not only do I think it’s a great experience, but it also takes them out of the classroom. It gets them downtown.  It gets them into a museum that most students don’t adventure, and most importantly it continues our exploration of the American Idea through paintings and sculptures.”

Mr. Bergman also stated, “It was hugely beneficial on so many levels. The kids come back fairly excited about art and also excited about getting out of the classroom. I think some of the best education happens outside of the classroom, and our job as teachers is to excite students and not to bore them with the same old worksheet of everyday school.”

There were many paintings that were very intriguing. Students described what their favorite painting was:

Junior Will Riccio said, “Western Motel because I really like Edward Hopper and his work and there is something about the painting that I really like.”

Junior Calvin Jackson said, “I really liked the Room by the Sea by Edward Hopper. It was my favorite because it really spoke to me, and we spoke a lot about it in our small groups.”

Junior Ashley Annicelli said, “My favorite painting was the one of George Washington at the Battle of Trenton, and that was very interesting because it showed him and his glory shot up front while all his soldiers were doing the work.”

Junior Bailey Hornyak said his favorite was  “The George Washington painting with all the slave names on him because you usually see a patriotic picture of George Washington, but it was the complete opposite.”

The students had a great time and they would definitely go again.
https://artgallery.yale.edu/

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