New Brunswick Second Graders Learn About Artistic Process, with Support from New Jersey State Council on the Arts

March 12, 2019


New Brunswick Second Graders Learn About Artistic Process at Zimmerli Art Museum,

Supported by New Jersey State Council on the Arts Grant


New Brunswick, NJ – The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers is proud to partner with New Brunswick Public Schools (NBPS) on a new program that dramatically strengthens the museum’s relationship with its home city. The three-year project is supported by an Arts Education Special Initiative grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, with additional matching support provided by longtime Zimmerli supporters Anthony and Marlene Volpe. Each project year engages a different grade level and focuses on a social issue that links to a museum exhibition which includes museum field trips enhanced by artist residencies in the schools, as well as professional development for district teachers. The program is provided free of charge to schools.


“We are delighted to have this opportunity to nurture new generations of artists and arts lovers in New Brunswick. Our goal is to enrich their excellent school-based arts education through direct experience with original works of art and local teaching artists, and help families see the museum as a welcoming community resource,” notes Amanda Potter, the museum’s curator of education and interpretation. “Our thanks especially go to NBPS Supervisor of Fine, Visual, and Performing Arts Lee Neamand for her support and stewardship of the project from grant development forward.”


During the 2018-19 school year, NBPS second graders are exploring illustration through the exhibition The Art of Turning Pages: Illustrations by Lulu Delacre for Sonia Sotomayor’s Life Story, which is on view at the Zimmerli through April 7. United States Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor shares her inspiring story about growing up and her deep love of reading in the book Turning Pages: My Life Story, also available in the Spanish version Pasando páginas: La historia de mi vida, published in 2018 by Philomel Books. The exhibition features nearly 30 objects on loan from award-winning children’s author and illustrator Lulu Delacre. The program kicked off in October, with Ms. Delacre visiting six New Brunswick elementary schools. During school assemblies, she explored how books are created from start to finish, and how she made the drawings for Turning Pages. Students then visit the Zimmerli to view Delacre’s work in person, along with other museum highlights. In the classroom, teaching artists guide students in artistic explorations that emphasize illustration’s collaborative nature, as they partner to illustrate a short text written by a fellow student.  By the close of the exhibition in the spring, all second-grade classrooms in the NBPS district, comprising nearly 800 students, will have participated.


The Zimmerli is uniquely positioned to carry out this multi-faceted project. The museum houses a collection of 2,400 original illustrations for children’s literature, as well as preparatory materials to document the book making process. More than 100 illustrators—many with New Jersey associations—are represented. The Roger Duvoisin Gallery, named after the acclaimed illustrator of more than 140 books, is dedicated to showcasing such artwork. Exhibitions and related programs educate audiences about the craft of book illustration and emphasize the importance of early exposure to visual literacy that children gain through picture books.


Future years of the project will focus on other grade levels and different aspects of the museum’s collections, with a focus on how artists engage with social issues of their time. At the end of three years, the museum will identify a grade level to continue to working with each year moving forward, so that, soon, every student in NBPS will have been to the Zimmerli at least once during their K-12 education. This project is a noteworthy addition to the Zimmerli’s existing programs that support arts education in New Brunswick schools, such as exhibiting student artwork in the museum’s Adi Blum Learning Center and providing scholarships for selected New Brunswick students to attend Summer Art Camp for free.


“This grant builds on the previous generosity of the State Arts Council, which has supported the Zimmerli’s general operations, allowing the museum to grow into a vibrant resource on campus and throughout the community,” museum director Thomas Sokolowski stated. “We are very grateful for this opportunity to expand our arts education offerings in our home city, at no cost to schools or families.”


The Art of Turning Pages: Illustrations by Lulu Delacre for Sonia Sotomayor’s Life Story, organized by Nicole Simpson, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings, is on view through April 7, 2019. This exhibition is supported by the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.



The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum houses more than 60,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. The permanent collection features particularly rich holdings in 19th-century French art; Russian art from icons to the avant-garde; Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection; and American art with notable holdings of prints. In addition, small groups of antiquities, old master paintings, as well as art inspired by Japan and original illustrations for children’s books, provide representative examples of the museum’s research and teaching message at Rutgers. One of the largest and most distinguished university-based art museums in the nation, the Zimmerli is located on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and a premier public research university.



Admission is free to the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. The museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street (at George Street) on the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The Zimmerli is a short walk from the NJ Transit train station in New Brunswick, midway between New York City and Philadelphia.


The Zimmerli Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and select first Tuesdays of the month, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays, as well as the month of August.


PaparazZi Café is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack items. The café is closed weekends and major holidays, as well as the month of August.


For more information, visit the museum’s website or call 848.932.7237.



The Zimmerli’s operations, exhibitions, and programs are funded in part by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and income from the Avenir Foundation Endowment and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment, among others. Additional support comes from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts, as well as donors, members, and friends of the museum.


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