The English school outreach program Looking at Pictures, and its French counterpart Vive les Arts!, are provided by volunteers of the National Gallery of Canada to elementary schools in the Ottawa/Gatineau areas of Ontario and Quebec. Volunteers show art reproductions to children in grade 1 to 6 classes, and stimulate the children to discuss “what they see”. The program awakens an interest in art, provides children with “looking” skills, helps them articulate their observations, and develops confident, enthusiastic responses to art. Follow-up visits to see the real thing at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, are encouraged.
The volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and share a lifelong interest in children and art. From a large library of mounted reproductions, each person selects a set of pictures, researches the paintings and their artists and prepares a presentation and questions for a session of 30-60 minutes, appropriate to the age of the audience. Classroom discussions center on description, analysis, and interpretation, as well as the personal reactions of the students. Volunteers arrange classroom visits to suit the schedules of each school.
Together, “Looking at Pictures” and “Vive les arts!”, involve more than 60 active volunteers. They visit about 200 schools annually, reaching more than 40,000 students.
To arrange a classroom visit, call the Volunteer Coordinator at 613-990-0130 or download and print out a request form (PDF). There is no charge for this service.