By John Anderson

Being first isn’t always fun (the A in Anderson made me first many times in school), but Thursday’s outreach program by the Museum of Fine Arts was both a first and entertaining. The museum recently began an Outreach Learning pilot program with 6 schools in central and eastern Massachusetts, and AHS Visual Arts Teacher Amanda Halsdorff felt it would be a good fit for her First Trimester Painting Class. Her students were a part of the trial, and they didn’t seem to mind one bit.

These lectures are designed to fit into a class period and touch on limited items from the Boston institution’s 450,000 works of art. Ms.

MFA's Suzi Fonda describes MFA collections to AHS art students.

MFA’s Suzi Fonda describes MFA collections to AHS art students.

Halsdorff selected two very different collections for the presentation: Art of the Ancient World and Contemporary Art. MFA’s Suzi Fonda explained the Ancient World collection which consists of 83,000 works and dates from 6500 BC to 600 AD. Countries including Egypt, Greece, Italy and others are well represented through sculptures, mummies, vases, and many other types of art.

Contemporary Art at the MFA focuses on works produced after 1955 so the span is less than 60 years, a lot shorter than the Ancient World’s 7,100 years.

In addition to traditional mediums like painting and sculpture, the relatively new art of photography is included as are the very new video and LED categories. In addition to the 850 works in this collection, thousands of other post 1955 pieces are housed in other departments.

MFA's Suzi Fonda points out some features in a carved stone piece from the Art of the Ancient World Collection.

MFA’s Suzi Fonda points out some features in a carved stone piece from the Art of the Ancient World Collection.

The students were very engaged with the presentation and, after gaining some comfort, were vocal about their observations. Those who had previously visited the museum offered even more feedback. Ms. Fonda described the MFA as an “encyclopedic museum”, and her PowerPoint slides back it up. She briefly described the collection categories and how MFA gives back to the community. She most certainly inspired these young artists to make a trip to Boston.

A reminder to Auburn residents that the first trimester art show will be held on 11/14 in the AHS cafeteria from 6-8pm. Every trimester 1 art student will be represented. The fall band concert is at 7pm this same evening.  Two great reasons to head out on the 14th.