Learning to See Color @ Polaris

Art Discipline: Visual Arts

Learning to See Color at Polaris is a pilot project designed to see if a significant college level art exhibition could be successfully re-designed for the K-5 audience without losing the power and effectiveness of the curriculum content woven into the exhibition artifacts. 

Because the way Learning to See Color at Polaris was designed, the lesson plan is integral to the exhibition itself.  The exhibition is structured around 5 key questions, followed by supporting discussion, and illustrated with images of the artworks discussed in the text. 

Throughout the current run of the exhibition, numerous home-room and art teachers at Polaris have brought their classes out to the exhibition area for conversation and discussion, sometimes accompanied and led by the curator, Mr. Keith. Students discuss the exhibition. They critique the work, analyze the question and discussion, and draw conclusions of their own. 

The key concept behind the curriculum organization and presentation is that there are no right or wrong answers to the questions asked in the material. The intent is not to answer questions, but to inspire students to hypothesize and ask better questions.

Learning to See Color at Polaris is an annotated version of Learning to See Color, an original exhibition created and produced by the Vicki Myhren Gallery at the University of Denver’s School of Art and Art History. The exhibition is designed to help us think about color in a richer, more complex way. The exhibit sets the work of contemporary regional and national artists in dialog with art of the past to illustrate how artists reflect and influence our thinking about the role and meaning of color. The exhibition poses five questions to ignite the curiosity of K-5 students and visitors to the school while challenging them to think about color differently. The questions, such as, Is color the same everywhere and for everyone? are supported with text written by Jeffrey Keith, one of two co-curators of the original exhibition, and accompanied by reproductions of artwork that appeared in the original run of the exhibit. Learning to See Color Polaris is on view to the general public and other DPS schools from April 15 through June. Contact Polaris to set up tour dates for your local school. Jeffrey Keith, adjunct faculty at the University of Denver’s School of Art and Art History, color expert, and Polaris super fan, is available for private tours on request. Learning to See Color at Polaris was funded in part by a grant from Think 360 Arts, Colorado Creative Industries, FedEx Office and Printing, and the Polaris PTO.

Project Images