Switching from in-person to virtual lessons due to COVID-19, Lynnette Torres Ivey continues to inspire budding young artists. Joining the Booth Western Art Museum’s staff in May 2018, the Kennesaw …
Switching from in-person to virtual lessons due to COVID-19, Lynnette Torres Ivey continues to inspire budding young artists. Joining the Booth Western Art Museum’s staff in May 2018, the Kennesaw resident shared her career path was initially cemented while obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kennesaw State University.
“While getting my degree, I was working on-campus as a museum assistant at the Zuckerman Museum of Art,” she said. “I fell in love with working in an art museum as I served as gallery guard, docent, visitor services attendant and educator. This experience is what led me to pursue my Master of Arts in Art Education at The Ohio State University.
“When I came across the opening for an education outreach coordinator at Booth Western Art Museum, I applied immediately. Because I had previous art museum experience and was seeking a graduate degree in art education, this position offered everything that I was hoping to do within art museum education. It was a natural next step in the right direction. Not to mention I had already visited the museum several times and was familiar with what a phenomenal institution it is.”
Situated at 501 Museum Drive, the Booth is known worldwide for its extensive collection of contemporary Western art. The 120,000-square-foot venue became an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in 2006.
The museum offers a variety of exhibit spaces, some of which include the Civil War gallery; Sculpture Court; a presidential gallery; the “Picturing America” photography gallery; and the interactive children’s gallery, Sagebrush Ranch.
Name: Lynnette Torres Ivey
Age: 25 — I’m technically 24, but my birthday is on the 22nd so I think that’s close enough to round up.
Occupation (title): Education outreach coordinator at Booth Western Art Museum
City of residence: Kennesaw
Family: Spouse, Logan Ivey
Education: Kennesaw State University — Bachelor of Fine Arts, Major in Drawing and Painting with a Minor in Art History; The Ohio State University — Master of Arts in Art Education
The Daily Tribune News: What does your job entail, and how has it changed due to COVID-19?
LI: As the education outreach coordinator at the Booth Western Art Museum, the core of my position is engaging with the K-12 community of Cartersville, Georgia, by making the resources, knowledge and opportunities of the museum accessible and available to these students. In my position, I work quite frequently with students from Cartersville City Schools through community partnerships with local after-school programs, namely the Boys & Girls Club of Bartow County and the Hands of Christ after-school programs. The students create artwork, which is juried for the annual “Kids Cowboy Up!” exhibition, where it is displayed in one of the museum’s galleries. This programming aims to close the gap of inequity for the students I work with who would not otherwise have the opportunity or access to museum engagement or arts education. Within my position, my responsibilities also extend to supporting the Booth museum’s education department. I am engaged with public programming, leading school field trips, pottery summer camps at the Booth Art Academy, open studio events and writing teacher lesson plans.
During COVID-19, my responsibilities have shifted to virtual engagement. The core of what I do within my position has not changed. However, while I would previously be teaching students face-to-face in classroom settings, now we are meeting over Zoom calls and Facebook Live videos. I have facilitated and lead the Facebook Live Drawing Lessons, Virtual Homeschool Friday Art Lessons and am working with the rest of the education department in the development of our new virtual field trip programs.
The Booth education department is excited to offer four virtual field trip programs to schools who are unable to visit the museum in person. These programs are designed with engaging interactives, hands-on art activities and support the Georgia Standards of Excellence in areas of social studies, visual arts, visual literacy and STEAM.
DTN: Provide some background about how "Facebook Live Art Lessons with Mrs. Lynnette" came about and why you wanted to be a part of it.
LI: Booth Western Art Museum temporarily closed in mid-March as a safety precaution to protect our visitors from the spread of COVID-19. During this time, museum staff created wonderful digital content as a way for guests to engage with the museum virtually. Patty Dees, the director of education at the Booth Western Art Museum, suggested offering art lessons through the Booth museum’s Facebook Live platform. I am proud of this programming and I am glad to be a part of it. Transitioning my typical face-to-face art lessons to a virtual format is a fun way to continue engaging with students during this time we have to spend apart.
DTN: What do these online classes entail and elaborate on one class in particular.
LI: These drawing lessons have, and continue to, change shape. From late March to the end of June, I taught these art lessons every week on Tuesdays. In August, we have moved these drawing lessons to a monthly schedule. My next drawing lesson premiers on my birthday, Aug. 22, 10 a.m. I hope you will join me this Saturday morning to learn how to draw a cornstalk.
Right now, there are 18 online videos that you can view to sharpen your artistic skills. I drew a Texas Longhorn, like the many herds of cattle you can find in the Booth’s collection; a sky scene inspired by contemporary Navajo artist Baje Whitethorne; a stagecoach, like the real ones you can find in the museum’s galleries; and so much more. I have recorded these videos in my own home studio, in the museum’s Borderlands classroom, AV studio and even the member’s lounge. No matter where, when or what I drew, I have a fun time while doing it.
In one particular lesson, I drew an animal that has significant meaning within the museum’s collection — a bison or American buffalo. At the beginning of the video, I showed images of artwork by artists Allan Houser, Buck McCain and Amy Ringholz who have exhibited their work in the museum’s galleries. I encouraged the students watching the video to try drawing their bison in different ways, just like these artists did. I walked through how to draw the outline of the bison before I colored it with crayons, markers and colored pencils. While I drew, I gave a short history lesson about why we often hear people say “buffalo” instead of “bison”, and why bison are so important to Plains American Indian tribes. In this video, I even brought a few fun artifacts from the education department’s collection — a bison horn, bladder and tail.
DTN: What have you enjoyed most about teaching this online class?
LI: I enjoy seeing the ways that people engage with the art lessons. When I see a picture of a student’s drawing made by following along with the video, kind comments people leave on the videos, phone calls telling us their stories of sharing the videos with their loved ones; it makes me feel connected to the museum’s community.
DTN: Describe your class participants — range in age, profession, artistic skill level — and feedback you have received.
LI: I have had participants from ages 5 to 75. Recently, one grandmother shared the artwork that she and her 8-year-old granddaughter have been creating together even though they live several states apart. I create my art lessons hoping that no matter how old you are or how much art you have made in the past, you will be able to jump in and make something you are proud of.
DTN: What do you hope your online students gain/take away from the classes?
LI: I give the same three tips at the beginning of each Facebook Live art lesson. I start by saying that you do not need any fancy art supplies, and to just use whatever you have around your house. The next piece of advice is one I tell students in all of my art lessons, virtual or face-to-face — that this artwork does not have to be the best thing that you have ever made. All artists worry about their artwork not being perfect. However, if you made something silly and had fun while doing it, that sounds like a successful piece of art to me. Which brings me to the last piece of advice I give in the art lesson — to enjoy creating your art. I hope those participating in the art lessons learn that art is for everyone, even you.
DTN: Provide some details about your artistic background.
LI: I have always been creating. As a kid I was crafting, during middle school I was introduced to art through photography, during high school I drew and during my bachelor’s education I painted. Art has guided me to where I am today. My art has always been inspired by my everyday experiences and I lean towards exploring environmentalist and activist themes in my artwork.
DTN: What is your greatest professional and/or personal achievement?
LI: I just graduated from The Ohio State University with my Master of Arts in Art Education. I am proud of the work I put into this program through my writing, research and art creation. My final practice portfolio for this program was centered on Dichotomies of Mixed-Race Latinx: Exploring Intersectionality, Ways of Knowing and Centers for Communities through Art Museum Education.
DTN: How would you describe yourself in three words?
LI: Confident. Creative. Ambitious.
DTN: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
LI: I am very passionate about Latinx history and culture because I am half Colombian. My maiden name is Torres, which means “towers” in Spanish.
DTN: What do you like to do in your spare time?
LI: I like to laugh and spend time with my husband in our backyard garden where we grow beans, peppers and flowers.
DTN: Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?
LI: Other than Booth Western Art Museum, I love going to Noble & Main Coffee Co. to visit my favorite barista who happens to be my best friend and roommate.