Visit the art gallery without leaving the classroom

Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) has celebrated the third year anniversary of the opening of its National Centre for Creative Learning, a dedicated space at the museum for education.

Since it was launched in March 2012 it has provided onsite and offsite contemporary art experiences to 70,000 students and teachers from 2000 schools around Australia.

The centre has digital and multimedia studios, creative studios, a dedicated sensory room for the Bella program for students with specific needs and a lecture theatre, seminar room and library.

The number of preschools accessing the centre has increased fifty-fold and the gallery has a specific learning program aimed at early learning centres.

Student and Teacher Engagement Manager Georgia Close said preschools were not traditional well catered for by museums and galleries so MCA had developed Art Escapades for ages 3-5, a workshop that allows children to explore current exhibitions through the lens of pattern, texture, shape, line or colour.

Georgia said a typical school excursion to the MCA begins with the artwork on display and then moves into the studio space, where there is an emphasis on process rather than product.

“The children may not have something to take home and put on the fridge, but they have developed creative skills with an artist educator,” she said.

For schools outside Sydney that may not be able to physically visit the gallery, it offers a series of digital excursions.

Digital Learning Producer Alex White said the digital excursions started in 2012 and through Google Hangouts, Skype or video conferencing, schools can interact with an online artwork and participate in live discussion about it.

Teachers are provided with a digital pack beforehand, which offers different strategies to tackling the artwork.

MCA also provides BOSTES accredited PD for teachers, particularly primary teachers who may not have spent a lot of time on creative art during their teacher training program.

“If they are coming to contemporary art for the first time, we have programs which provide easy teaching strategies so that teachers can have the confidence to talk about art,” Georgia said.

For more details and booking see, phone 9245 2400 or email

Sue Osborne