The Visual Education program at Nightingale began in 2002 with a broad vision and idea that art, critical thinking, and visual literacy are inextricably tied to excellence in education.
Defining Visual Education
Our unparalleled Visual Education program is as much about making art as it is about developing students’ visual literacy and creating an awareness of art and objects as valuable tools for learning. Using a multidisciplinary approach,the program incorporates works of art into English, history, mathematics, art history, classics, modern languages, and art classes. Students learn to observe and analyze works of art and discuss them with reference to formal qualities, as well as historical and cultural context. Through their study of visual images both in the classroom and at local museums and cultural institutions, Nightingale girls develop the ability to express and support their interpretations while learning to value the ideas of others. Students are exposed to the diversity of the world through New York’s various museums, which collaborate with us to provide guided visits, research resources, internships, and professional development opportunities. At a young age, Nightingale girls become savvy museum-goers and possess an impressive understanding of art history.
A Classroom Without Walls
Nightingale students visit a wide range of cultural institutions during their tenure at the school; through these visits, they are exposed to objects and institutions representing a wide variety of cultures, time periods, media, and subject matter. Repeated visits to these institutions help students develop comfort and familiarity with the city's vast cultural resources, which in turn encourages them to become lifelong learners and museum-goers.
Through the Visual Education program, Nightingale has established formal partnerships with local museums including the Rubin Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Without question, these museum programs that have been initiated by Visual Education have enhanced the students’ sense of an emerging global community.
The Visual Education program directly supports global awareness, diversity, and communication skills—attributes required of all successful Nightingale students. By presenting objects and images from many cultures, time periods, and materials, the program helps students to develop a cultural context for all of their learning and cultivates greater awareness and respect for differences in culture, ideology, politics, and experience. The program's structure promotes analytical, observational, verbal, written, and auditory skills. Both classroom and museum-based lessons promote group work, discussions, visual processing, observational analysis, and creative writing.
Nightingale's Visual Education program nurtures in our students a deeper understanding of our world and a lifelong appreciation for artistic forms and cultural expression. It teaches them to think in new ways, to engage art on many levels, and to use art as a tool for exploration and learning.