Category: News

Reminder About Exploring Artism New Location!

We hope everyone had a happy holidays and a wonderful New Year!

While the building at 1080 Chapel Street is closed for conservation in 2015, the Exploring Artism program will continue to meet at the campus of Chapel Haven, 1040 Whalley Avenue, New Haven. We will meet for our first session of the New Year on February 21st at this temporary location.

We look forward to seeing you in February! Don’t forget to pre-register at or call 203-432-2858 with your name and contact information.

Collage Inspired Artwork!

For 2014’s last Exploring Artism session at the YCBA, families looked at works in the collection that used collage. Participants created their own collage of colors, shapes, and textures with were inspired by what they saw in the galleries. 

We began our session by talking about shapes: What shapes can you name? What shapes can you draw? Participants worked on this warm-up activity.

With this particular gallery activity, each participant was able to use the iPad to create their own artwork. Using the app, Singing Fingers, participants were able to connect sounds with artworks in the galleries. Check out then Singing Fingers app here. By looking at the John Hoyland abstract paintings in the gallery and creating their own audible artworks on the iPads, participants were able to apply a multi-sensory approach to looking at the artworks.

Our next gallery activity involved using large foam shapes to discuss layering and composition within a painting. Each participant was given a set of shapes of varying size, shape, and color. Working collaboratively, the whole group was able to create a composition using different shapes and ideas. After each participant placed their shape within the group composition,they were asked why they made the decision to place their shape where they did. The group was asked to discuss the final composition in comparison to the Hoyland work.

Back in the Docent Room, participants were able to create their own permanent abstract collage using foam and felt shapes, string, and puff balls. Each individual collage was a unique mix of textures, shapes and color. Each participant had the chance to share their final composition with the rest of the group.



New Haven Register Article

Check out this article (linked here) discussing the unique partnership between the Yale Center for British Art and Chapel Haven, a school and residence for adults on the autism spectrum.

“‘It’s a place they’ve been so welcome in an environment filled with brilliant, educated people,’ Menchetti [Chapel Haven art instructor] said. ‘They love the way they feel here.'”

The Education Department at the YCBA is excited to continue the Out to Art and Exploring Artism programs in the coming year at the Chapel Haven facilities.

Exploring Artism this Saturday!

Our last Exploring Artism of the fall semester is this Saturday, November 15th from 10:30am to noon.

The program is free but pre-registration is required. Please e-mail or call 203-432-2858 with your name, number, and a good time to reach you on the telephone. A museum educator will contact you by phone to complete your registration.

We hope to see you there!

New iPads!

The Center’s Education Department has received a donation of 12 iPads to be used for our Exploring Artism program from Yale’s Instructional Technology Group in partnership with the Bass Library.

In the past, we have used one iPad in our Artism sessions. Realizing the difference that 1 iPad made with 12 participants with ASD, we began a search to acquire more electronic tablets. This fall, the stars aligned, Instructional Technology Group and the Bass Library iPad Borrower program came to the rescue. Now, Exploring Artism participants can each use an iPad, and we are excited to adapt our teaching and develop lessons more fully utilizing apps and the iPads for participants.

We’ve been in the prep stage where we are downloading apps in preparation of our next Exploring Artism on Oct. 18.

Autism Apps and Real Chalkboard are two apps we are working with. Autism Apps is a great resource which compiles a list of apps that work well with children and adults with autism or developmental disorders. Real Chalkboard takes the place of paper and pencil and participants will be able to draw in the gallery. We also were able to download our social story into iBook and the kids can read it on the iPad rather than a hardcopy printout – it is easier to swipe for those with fine motor control challenges than turn a paper page. We also have purchased Proloque2, a communication app that allows participants to use customizable buttons to communicate. We will add images relevant to the lesson.

We are very excited to start using our iPads in the galleries with our Exploring Artism participants. We hope this addition will enhance the museum experience and provide new avenues of learning!

Coins and Medallions!

This past Saturday, our Exploring Artism participants were able to take a look at some of the intricate coins and medallions from Hong Kong, Canada, Jamaica and India in our Sculpture Victorious exhibition.

We started our morning with thinking about what we keep in our pockets and purses? What do we use today that was also used a long time ago? Money? Coins? We then reviewed different parts of a coin using this warm-up worksheet. After learning about the different parts of a coin, we were then able to design our own coin using this template.

Working on the warm up activity
Working on the warm up activity

Next, we moved into the galleries to look at some of the coins and medallions in the Sculpture Victorious exhibition. Here are some examples of the coins we looked at:

Half Rupee, 1899
Half Rupee, 1899
Victoria Medallion (from Diamond Jubilee), 1897
Victoria Medallion (from Diamond Jubilee), 1897

After looking at the different coins presented, participants were asked to describe what they saw. What colors are on the coins? How many colors? What are they made of? How do you think the artist made this? Why did they choose the images that they did? Why is there commonly a portrait on each one? Are the people depicted important?

Looking at and talking about coins in the exhibition
Looking at and talking about coins in the exhibition

Sample coins and paper were handed out to participants, and everyone was able to draw their own coins using the Victorian coins and medallions as inspiration.

Back in the Docent Room, participants were able to use the designs they worked on in the galleries to create their own coins. Using foam printing paper, pencils, Model Magic Clay, metallic paint, brushes, and rolling pins for pressing the design, we were able to make our own coins. First, participants drew two designs (one for the obverse and one for the reverse side of the coin); it is important to stress simple lines and shape within the coin design. Also note that any text are numbers must be drawn in reverse.

Making the coin design
Making the coin design

Next, we taped this design to the foam printing paper; participants were then able to re-trace the design, pressing down and imprinting the foam sheet. After making sure that the imprints into the foam were deep enough, participants then pressed the Model Magic clay into the imprint, making sure the clay covered the entire circle. Next, we placed the second foam design over the top, lined up the edges, and used tape to secure both foam pieces together and finally applied pressure through a rolling pin or heavy book. After a few moments of pressure, the foam was pulled away and the excess clay was cut away with a scissors. Participants had the option of various metallic paints to add finishing decorations to their coins.

Painting the finished coin
Painting the finished coin

Everyone had the opportunity to share their coin with the rest of the group.

Exploring Artism this Saturday, September 20th!

Creating McLean inspired artworkJoin us this Saturday, September 20th from 10:30am to noon at our first Exploring Artism session of the fall. We will be looking at objects in the Sculpture Victorious exhibition!

The program is free but pre-registration is required. Please e-mail or call 203-432-2858 with your name, number, and a good time to reach you on the telephone. A museum educator will contact you by phone to complete your registration.

We hope to see you there!

Next Exploring Artism: Sat., June 21, 2014

Creating McLean inspired artwork

Exploring Artism: A Program for Families

A free program for families with children 5 to 12 years of age on the autism spectrum. Families learn to look and respond to art work in the museum’s galleries. Join us and engage in group conversations in the galleries, a follow-up art project in a museum classroom, and much more. While we have taken into account the needs of individuals with autism in designing this program, it is intended to be fun for parents, siblings, and other relatives too!

Free but pre-registration is required. Please e-mail: or call 203 432 2858 with your name, number, and a good time to reach you on the telephone. A museum educator will contact you by phone to complete your registration.