CMA Stories

Meet After School Teaching Artist Gabby

With school starting next week, we’re getting ready for a new semester of after school art classes! Young artists enrolled in our after school program spend an entire semester immersing themselves in an artistic practice such as printmaking, animation, drawing & painting, sculpture and more.

To give you a better idea of the structure of the classes and the art explored in the curriculum, we asked Teaching Artist Gabby Blumenthal what it’s like to teach two after school classes (Modern Masters and Exploring Drawing and Painting).


What is your favorite thing about working at CMA?

The love of making art and the love of teaching art come together in my job. I love seeing kids explore new mediums and find their own artistic expression.

What is your favorite thing about teaching after school classes?

I love that you get to know the kids and you get to tailor the class to their interests after a few weeks. During regular admission we have different kids visiting each day, so you don’t have the opportunity to form the unique teacher-student relationship that you would get in an after school class.

Tell us what a typical after school class is like.

For the younger kids in the Exploring Drawing & Painting class I usually start with some games and songs to get the kids warmed up. We usually have a 20 to 30 minute sketch period for free drawing. Then we might do a short art history lesson, and explore the works in the gallery either through a material exploration or as a way to talk about scale and color. Being able to investigate and talk about a piece in front of you is what is special about doing an after school class in a museum. Kids get to see work by artists up close, rather than through images. We will spend about an hour working on a larger project based on the artist we are currently exploring, and then we clean up and go home!

Who is your favorite artist to teach about?

Cy Twombly. I love the transition from abstraction expression to romantic symbolism in his work. We will be covering his art in the Exploring Drawing & Painting class.

What is your favorite after school moment?

I love the Final Show because it is so much fun to exhibit the work that everyone is so proud of from the entire semester. I love hearing the kids explain their process to their friends and family. It is amazing how they still remember everything that went into creating a piece weeks and even months after the project.

What is your favorite memory of making art as a child?

When I was a kid there was a program in my school called “Learning to Look.” My mom volunteered for the program and they would take us on field trips to the city to visit all of the museums. I remember being amazed by that experience because I lived outside the city and it was exciting to visit these world-class museums.

Tell us about your own artistic process.

Right now I’ve been focusing on ceramic sculpture and non-functional wares. I also do a lot of digital collage work. I’d describe it as playful, whimsical digital collage work.

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