© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Nelson-Atkins Museum Receives $1 Million Grant For Education Programs

Courtesy Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City has received a $1 million grant to expand and "deepen" its educational programs, says Julián Zugazagoitia, the museum's CEO and director.

The grant, from the David T. Beals III Charitable Trust, will support the work of Rosie Riordan, the museum's head of school and educator services. Riordan oversees tours and workshops for students and teachers, working with school administrators and teachers on programs and materials relevant to their curriculum during museum visits as well as in school classrooms. Riordan and her staff also work with community organizations that serve young people.

"Education for us is paramount," Zugazagoitia tells KCUR, "and Rosie Riordan is an outstanding leader who has been receiving various awards because of all the ways she has energized student visits here at the Nelson and at schools."

Riordan received the 2015 Outstanding Art Educator-Museum Education award from the Kansas Art Association, and was named 2014 Educator of the Year by the Missouri Arts Education Association.

The Missouri Arts Education Association award, according to the Nelson, cited Riordan's accomplishments, including creation of Teacher Appreciation Night, which in its first year engaged more than 400 teachers with over 20 regional museum sites, exploring what museums offer to enhance classroom learning. Teacher Appreciation Night is now an annual event at the Nelson-Atkins.

Prior to joining the museum in 2012, Riordan spent more than 20 years as an art teacher in the Shawnee Mission School District. Since arriving at the museum, she has planned and implemented new education programs, including one that combines what's known as "visual thinking strategies" with the Common Core Curriculum in an effort to improve student performance in all subjects. Though the program is in a pilot phase in two schools, the museum says student scores have shown improvement.

The Beals family has a long history with the museum, Zugazagoitia says, adding they have "been very closely involved and supportive of the arts in Kansas City."

C.J. Janovy reports on arts and culture for KCUR. You can find her on Twitter, @cjjanovy.

A free press is among our country’s founding principles and most precious resources. As director of content-journalism at KCUR, I want everyone in our part of America to know we see them and we’re listening. I work to make sure the stories we tell and the conversations we convene reflect our complex realities, informing and inspiring all of us to meet the profound challenges of our time. Email me at cj@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.