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Learning Through Art records

Identifier: A0015

Scope and Content Note

The Learning Through Art (LTA) records span the years 1970 to 2008 (bulk 1990 to 2005). The collection documents the creation and existence of LTA as an education organization and the programs it offers. The collection includes administration, exhibition, programming records that include documentation on in-school residencies, workshops and tours, publications, research and audio visual material. The bulk of the collection is comprised of administration, programming and visual material and multi-media.

The collection is divided into six series: Series 1. Administration; Series 2. Exhibitions; Series 3. Programming; Series 4. Publications; Series 5. Research; and Series 6. Visual Materials and Media. Series 1. Administration includes records created by LTA administrators during the normal course of business. It consists of correspondence, day files (chronological file of all ingoing and outgoing correspondence), newspaper clippings, personnel records, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (SRGM) Education Department records relating to LTA, the SRGM and LTA merger, and records about grants, development, finance, marketing, and other organizations LTA was involved with around New York City and state. Series 2. Exhibitions contains records pertaining to exhibitions curated by LTA that feature student artwork created during LTA programs. It is comprised of correspondence; financial documentation; printed programs and brochures for exhibitions; project forms describing the artwork to be included in exhibitions; public relations materials; shipping documents; participant lists; design details; and viewbooks that summarize exhibitions and year-long residencies. Series 3. Programming contains records pertaining to LTA's curriculum for children, parents and teachers; curriculum is the set of courses, and their content, offered by LTA. Programming is organized into four subseries: A. General; B. Residencies; C. Tours; and D. Workshops. Series 4. Publications includes all items published by LTA. It contains brochures, bulletins, guides and newsletters. The brochures, bulletins and newsletters report on LTA activities during residencies, tours and workshops, and list sponsors, board members and participating schools. Guides explain how to implement art learning strategies. Series 5. Research contains records on the assessment by third parties of LTA's educational value and impact on children. These assessments include analyses of data, conferences, dissertations, evaluations, statistics and studies. Series 6. Visual Material and Media includes photographic materials and other visual media documenting LTA's programming and other activities. It contains an audio tape, compact discs, contact sheets, negatives, photographic prints, slides, VHS tapes and DVDs.

The majority of the records from Series 2 and Series 4 have been digitized and can be viewed in the folder list of the collection's online finding aid. Select records were not digitized due to copyright concerns.


  • 1970-2008 (bulk 1990 to 2005)

Language of Materials

Collection is primarily in English and Spanish.


The collection is partially restricted. For further information, please consult the Manager of the Library and Archives.

Publication Rights:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Manager of the Library and Archives.

Historical Note

Learning Through Art (LTA) is an educational program run by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (SRGM) Education Department. LTA has been known by multiple names throughout its history: the Summer Program for Children or Project ICK (for Inner-City Kids), Learning to Read Through the Arts for Inner-City Children, Learning to Read Through the Arts and finally Learning Through Art. LTA is an artists-in-the-schools program that encourages teachers and teaching artists to design art projects that support student learning across the curriculum. LTA focuses on both looking at art and hands-on art making. Research on LTA and other children's programs shows that this combination of activities helps students build important critical-thinking, art, and literacy skills.

LTA was conceived of by Natalie K. Lieberman (NKL) in response to the elimination of art and music programs in NYC public schools in the 1960s. Beginning in 1969, NKL was the Education Development Officer at SRGM. By summer 1971, NKL, with the assistance of the SRGM and the Board of Education of the City of New York, launched the pilot program that would become LTA. The summer pilot program served 206 inner-city children between the ages of ten and twelve through one month of workshops. According to an SRGM press release from the fall of 1971, the goal of the pilot program was to demonstrate that "…the arts are as vital and effective means of learning as more traditionally accepted methods of education." Due to the success of the summer pilot, a year-long program was initiated in December 1971 with NKL as the head of LTA. This program took place after school on weekdays and all day on Saturdays. The New York State Council on the Arts provided a grant to supplement the funding received from New York state.

As of 1974, LTA began employing practicing artists as teachers. At this time, LTA created a format that placed teaching artists in classrooms during the school day. In 1975, LTA (at that time Learning to Read Through the Arts) reorganized as a foundation in order to secure additional grant funding. At that time, the National Right to Read Effort in the United States Office of Education recognized LTA as one of twelve exemplary education programs.

In the 1990s, NKL began proceedings to merge LTA with the SRGM. The merger was finalized in 1995. That same year, the SRGM officially established its Education Department, of which LTA became a part. LTA staff members were able to use their expertise in community outreach to assist in the creation of the SRGM Education Department. The first head of the SRGM Education Department was Marilyn JS Goodman, Ed.D. (MJSG), a key figure in LTA's history. MJSG's relationship with LTA began around 1984 when she was a visiting professor at Rutgers University and LTA offered education graduate seminars at Rutgers. MJSG worked with LTA again in 1992 when she performed an evaluation on LTA's program at Draper Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

The student eligibility criterion for LTA has changed over time. Initially, the criteria allowed participation for any NYC child between the ages of ten and twelve. In 1974, the focus changed to children in that same age range, who were performing academically at least two years below their level in reading and math. In 1980, the program's criteria focused on students behind in reading, academically gifted students and students perceptually or emotionally impaired. By 1987, the program was open to classes from pre-kindergarten through high school. By 2008, the focus tightened to second grade through sixth grade.

As of 2009, LTA places teaching artists in school residencies for periods of eight to twenty-two weeks. The teaching artist will visit a class once a week to provide instruction in art. Aside from residencies, LTA has programming in the form of workshops; these are all other classes offered by LTA that are not an in-school residency. Workshops are designed for parents, students, teachers or teaching artists. For students, they are special programming apart from residencies that can last from one day to one week long. They can take place after school or in the summer. Student workshops also include visits during a residency to off-site locations where artwork is made or lessons are taught. In general, parent workshops are only for those with a child in a residency. Parent workshops are a way to encourage parents to become involved in their child's education. For teachers, the workshops are considered professional development and instruct teachers in how to assist the teaching artists during residencies and how to implement art instruction on their own. LTA also publishes tour and activity guides for teachers and parents to use during visits to the exhibitions at the SRGM and other venues, and conducts tours of the SRGM exhibitions.

Between 1996 and 2002, LTA developed affiliate programs outside of NYC both nationally and internationally. In 1992, an LTA residency was based in Washington, D.C. because LTA staff "wanted to test out its … program on a new city." LTA and The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts worked together during this residency. Prior to that, non-NYC workshops and residencies were in schools close to NYC like the Vroom Learning Center and the McAfee School, both of which are in New Jersey.

In 1996, LTA piloted Aprendiendo a través del arte (AAA), a Spanish language version of LTA, in the boroughs of Iztacalco and Iztapalapa in Mexico City. After the success of the Mexican programs, LTA began to collaborate internationally with program partners in Ecuador, Italy and Spain. A program partner provides on-site project managers and teachers to adapt LTA programming to fit a particular country or city's school curriculum. In addition to implementing residency programs in other countries, LTA also held workshops in other countries. These involved an exchange of artists between the two participating schools. A group of students in the foreign country would have the same curriculum as a group in NYC. At the end, there would be an exchange between the students of the work produced for cultural comparison. The works could include pen pal letters, photographs or other artwork. By 2003, LTA had reverted to only serving schools in the NYC area. AAA still operates in Ecuador and Mexico, but is no longer affiliated with LTA.

LTA residencies and workshops culminate with an exhibition of artwork produced by the participants. This yearly show is called "A Year With Children" (AYWC) and showcases artwork created throughout the year by the children during their in-school residencies with teaching artists. AYWC provides teachers with concrete examples of methods for integrating art and curriculum and allows the public a glimpse of the student work accomplished through LTA's programs. Participation in AYWC is open to all LTA students, including those in the affiliate programs. The initial exhibition in 1971 was called "A Summer With Children" before the LTA program was not yet year-long. While the SRGM was closed for renovation from 1990 to1993, the NYC exhibition was called "The Great Mural," situated outside across the street from the SRGM, and on display during NYC's annual Museum Mile Festival.

From 1989 to 2000, AYWC included an awards ceremony and benefit event called A Night For All the Arts. During this event, LTA staff awarded individuals who made significant contributions to arts education. Awards also were given to teaching artists. Awards ceremonies and benefit events continue, but without their former name. AYWC also includes a Family Day event where participants in LTA's residencies bring their parents and friends to see the exhibition and make art. In some cases, teaching artists set up in-school exhibitions for their classes. There also have been exhibitions in alternative locations such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany's, Carnegie Hall, and the Mexican Consulate. One teaching artist convinced QLinn to donate space on an electronic billboard in Times Square for the exhibition "Toy As An Expression of Self."

LTA constantly conducts evaluations of its programming and engages third-parties to do the same. In the early 1970s, New York University's Field Services Division (NYUFSD) evaluated students' performance to measure the educational impact the program had in areas of reading and math. From 2003 to 2006, Randi Korn and Associates (RKA) conducted the study Teaching Literacy Through Arts (TLTA) funded by an Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination (AEMDD) grant from the U.S. Department of Education. RKA designed TLTA to examine the impact of LTA programming on third-grade students' ability to describe and interpret art, and to apply these skills to understanding written text. In July 2006, in conjunction with the release of the TLTA research findings, the SRGM held a conference exploring how inquiry supports art-making and promotes critical thinking and creativity. In June 2007, SRGM Senior Education Manager Rebecca Shulman Herz spoke about the TLTA research findings as a participant in the Smithsonian's G. Brown Goode Education Lecture Series. Following the success of the TLTA study, another AEMDD grant was awarded to study the links between participation in LTA programs and the development of problem-solving skills among fifth-grade students. In the spring of 2007, Dr. Michael Hanchett Hanson and his students in the Master's concentration in Creativity and Cognition at Columbia Teacher's College completed a study of the ways in which LTA teaching artists and classroom teachers encourage creativity among participating students.

The below is a select list of teaching artists.

Biographical / Historical

  • 1971 Rick Wessler
  • 1981-1982 Shinder, Jason
  • 1982-1983 Kuo, NinaShinder, Jason
  • 1985-1986 Cassotta, JonPicasso, Paloma
  • 1987-1988 Birch, Willie; Cassotta, Jon; Collins, Fred; Dien, Laurie; Dietrich, Luanne; Harrison, Julie; Lange, Marion; Nozick, Lori; Secour, Joanne; Skipitares, Theodora; Skolnick, Lee; Staikidis, Kryssi; Walker, Fai; Worley, Hettie; Williams, Jeff
  • 1989-1990 Arman; Picasso, Paloma; Rauschenberg, Robert
  • 1990-1991 Bertles, John; Lange, Marion
  • 1991-1992 Birch, Willie; Cassotta, Jon; Conn, Robert; Heller, Neddi; Lynn, Veronica; Nelson, Jalalu K.; Richardson, David
  • 1992-1993 Adkins, Terry; Bertles, John; Birch, Willie; Blanche, Dino; Cassotta, Jon; Collins, Fred; Dietrich, Luann; Heller, Neddi; Miranda, Nancy Salomon; St. Croix, Judith; Vega, Manuel; Velasquez, Carlos; Williams, Nikki
  • 1993-1994 Arman; Backuswalcott, Chey; Bertles, John; Collins, Fred; Dietrich, Luann; Dominquez, Maria; Lange, Marion; Mayr, Susan; Miller, Nicole; Miranda, Nancy Salomon; Nelson, Jalalu K.; Plonka, Lavinia; Rothschild, Gail; Skipitares, Theodora; St. Croix, Judith; Travis, Jack; Vega, Manuel; Yarrow, Peter
  • 1994-1995 Collins, Fred; Dietrich, Luann; Ellington, Mercedes; Fisher, Susan; Vega, Manuel
  • 1996-1997 Bergman, Daniel; Cassotta, Jon; Collins, Fred; Dietrich, Luann; Fisher, Susan; Fontana, Franko; Garaigorta, Charo; Hylton, Kevin; Nathaniel; Katz, Nancy Modlin; Mayr, Susan; Miranda, Nancy Salomon; Morningstar, Sayyini; Moux, Esther; Rosales, Marcos; Seidman, Mary; Skipitares, Theodora; St. Croix, Judith; Vega, Manuel
  • 1997-1998 Bergman, Daniel; Brown, Laura Halsey; Bullock, Barbara J.; Cassotta, JonCollins, Fred; Courtney, Erin; Dituri, Frank; Fontana, Franco; Garaigorta, Charo; Hylton, Kevin Nathaniel; Katz, Nancy Modlin; Khaja, Samarra; Koch, Roberto; Latham-Stiefel, Caroline; Mann, Harry; Miranda, Nancy Salomon; Nigro, Danielle; Nonino, Francesco; Omenetto, Cristina; Rubaja, Carina; Seidman, Mary; Skipitares, Theodora; Vega, Manuel
  • 1998-1999 Burton, Angelique; Eubanks, Limeul
  • 1999-2000 Miranda, Nancy Salomon
  • 2000-2001 Miranda, Nancy Salomon
  • 2001-2002 Cereijido, Fabian P.; Garaigorta, Charo; Guttman, Andrea; Harmon, Jennifer; Katz, Nancy Modlin; Lally, Aimee Mower; Levy, Scott; Mayr, Susan; Miranda, Nancy Salomon; Reinauer, Lori; Sabharwal, Tara; Schwartz, Nancy; Tenazas-Norman, Reynolds
  • 2002-2003 Katz, Nancy Modlin; Levy, Scott; Sibilia, Elizabeth; Shute, Laurel; Tenazas-Norman, Reynolds
  • 2003-2004 Lally, Aimee Mower; Miranda, Nancy Salomon; Newcomb, Kae; Walters, Paula; Ziccardi, Jill
  • 2004-2005 Anderson, Alice; Bevill, Jennifer; Cecere, Jennifer; Crosby, Karioki; Delemantre, Jackie; Drake, Ascha Kells; Greco, Ardina; Guttman, Andrea; Jacque, Anette; Lambert, Emily; Mayr, Susan; Miranda, Nancy Salomon; Moroney, Kathleen; Newcomb, Kae; Perez, Antonia; Tenazas-Norman, Reynolds; Ziccardi, Jill
  • 2006-2007 Baird, Kate; Bevill, Jennifer; Cecere, Jen; Drake, Ascha Kells; Greco, Ardina; Hopkins, Jeff; Iannacone, Linda; Jacque, Annette; Lally, Aimee Mower; Lambert, Emily; Mayr, Susan; McQuarrie, Mollie; Melin, Kristin; Miranda, Nancy Salomon; Perez, Antonia; Street, Rachelle; Tenazas-Norman, Reynolds
  • 2007-2008 Baird, Kate; Bevill, Jennifer; Cecere, Jen; Drake, Ascha Kells; Dzula, Mark; Gibson, Emily; Greco, Ardina; Hopkins, Jeff; Lambert, Emily; Mayr, Susan; McQuarrie, Mollie; Melin, Kristin; Perez, Antonia; Reynolds, James


48 cubic ft. (48 boxes)


Learning Through Art (LTA) is an educational program run by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (SRGM) Education Department. LTA is an artists-in-the-schools program that encourages teachers and teaching artists to design art projects that support student learning across the curriculum. LTA focuses on both looking at art and hands-on art making.


The Learning Through Art (LTA) records span the years 1970 to 2008 (bulk 1990 to 2005). The collection documents the creation and existence of LTA as an education organization and the programs it offers. The collection includes administration, exhibition, programming records for the in-school residencies, workshops and tours, publications, research and audio visual materials. The majority of the records from Series 2 and Series 4 have been digitized and can be viewed in the folder list. Select records were not digitized due to copyright concerns.


Organized into 6 series: 1. Administration; 2. Exhibitions; 3. Programming; 4. Publications; 5. Research; and 6. Visual Material and Multi-Media.

Physical Location


Learning Through Art records
Finding aid prepared by Holly Deakyne
March 2009
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English.
The arrangement and description of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives' Learning Through Art records was made possible in part by a grant from the Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives, a program of the State Education Department.

Repository Details

Part of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives Repository

One Liberty Plaza
24th floor
New York NY 10006