Step Into Art with the Murphy School, January 2016

“Step Into Art: In the Words of Murphy School Third Graders” With an introduction by Abby Rischin, Step Into Art founder At the Murphy School in Dorchester, Step Into Art is a longstanding third-grade tradition. We started our third-grade partnership with the Murphy in the fall of 2009, and each year since then, upwards of 75 third graders have taken part in this program immersing students in the world of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Siblings, cousins, neighbors, classmates, eighth graders soon to graduate – all share memories from their Step Into Art experience. When I was at school for our program this past fall, I ran into Principal Courtney Sheppeck in the hall as a line of kindergartners were marching by. “They’ll be yours in a few years!” she said. At our concluding celebration in November, the third-grade ESL class invited younger students to come and see their Step Into Art poems and self-portraits, providing a glimpse of what’s ahead. What do third graders tell younger siblings and friends about Step Into Art? What sticks with them? We asked the teachers to give the following writing prompt to their students after the program concluded: “If you could tell next year’s third graders about Step Into Art, what would you tell them?” Here are just a few of the responses […]

Greater Boston Museum Educators’ Roundtable, January 2007

“Boston-Area Museum Educators ‘Step Into Art’ with Abby Rischin at the MFA” In a morning workshop dedicated to thinking about diverse learning styles and ways of engaging visitors with works of art, Abby Rischin from Step Into Art shared powerful teaching strategies with us. By asking us to literally “step into” paintings by acting out the gestures we saw, sounds we thought we heard, and emotions we sensed, each participant was able to begin to build a personal connection with the works of art. We connected with narrative paintings, landscapes, still lifes, and portraits in dynamic ways. As a museum educator, I dedicate my career to helping visitors of all ages actively engage with works of art in order to develop meaningful connections. The techniques employed by Step Into Art allow students to do just that. They use close looking, discussion, movement, art-making and imagination to better understand great works of art. Jennifer M. DePrizio Director of Visitor Learning, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Committee Member, Greater Boston Museum Educators’ Roundtable