Lesley Chapman, Executive Vice President
French Teacher, Sycamore High School
I don’t know about you, but I am often on the lookout for meaningful, worthwhile cultural experiences for my students. I’m not much of a fan of going on a field trip with no real pedagogical reason. I have always believed that time out of the classroom should provide some growth opportunity that a student wouldn’t normally seek out on their own. Those experiences are not easy to come by. I was thrilled when I saw that the Columbus Museum of Art was hosting a French Impressionism exhibit (Beyond Impressionism – Paris, Fin de Siècle: Signac, Redon, Toulouse-Lautrec and Their Contemporaries, October 21, 2017 through January 21, 2018), and I jumped at the chance to take my students. This is truly a rare opportunity, as the Columbus Art Museum is the only art museum in the U.S. hosting. It is through a partnership with the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain.
My administrator gave me the go-ahead to get a bus for the day and take my AP students (17 of us) from Cincinnati to Columbus to see this collection of more unknown Impressionist artists. While they recognized a few of the paintings we had studied in class (Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Signac, and Gauguin), they were introduced to other Impressionists such as Maximilien Luce, Odilon Redon, and Paul Ranson. While I had prepared an activity for students to locate various paintings and express their reactions, the museum did not allow us to have pen and paper. No worries, students were so impressed by the exhibit that they went above and beyond my expectations in their engagement.
The main museum contains a large amount of French Impressionism as well, and we had more than enough time to explore both the exhibit and the permanent collection. The exhibit closes on January 21, so it may be too late to organize a field trip yourself, but I highly recommend French teachers take the time to see this collection, and to encourage your students to go as well. You won’t be disappointed!