To understand how The Thousand Words Project fits within the mission of the Museum of Art, one must understand the Museum’s unique position as the most public arm of Bates College. The Museum is committed to collecting, preserving, and using works of art to serve the Bates Community and the public through direct experience.
Bates is a college of the liberal arts and sciences recognized for the quality of the educational experiences it provides. Bates prizes both the inherent values of a demanding education and the profound usefulness of learning, teaching, and understanding. The College recognizes that learning is not restricted to cognitive categories and encourages students to learn beyond the classroom by exploring the full range of human experiences and participating in the resolution of the unknown.
As an integral part of the College environment, the Bates College Museum of Art serves as the primary source of art exploration for educators and students from the Lewiston-Auburn area. This is perhaps the most important aspect of the Museum of Art’s work with the neighboring communities. Children’s art education is a top priority for Museum staff and we strive to improve the quantity and quality of programs for the students of the region by working to enable them to become visually literate through the processes of seeing, thinking, and learning.
A 1996, gift from the Arthur and Helen Baer Charitable Foundation enabled the Museum to launch The Thousand Word Project. Aimed at middle-school students, the program has become the flagship outreach program at the Museum, effectively integrating the Museum of Art with the curricula of the surrounding public schools and the College. In 2002, an anonymous family foundation provided $50,000 to support TWP for two years, thereby allowing every 7th-Grader and 8th-Grader in the Auburn Middle and Lewiston Middle Schools to participate in the program. Now, TWP is evolving into a web-based component, allowing even greater access.
TWP continues to flourish, with participants from public schools in Lewiston, Auburn, Minot, and Monmouth, as well as private schools and home-school groups.
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