Two well-known Montclair establishments are celebrating their anniversaries this year. The Montclair Cooperative School (“Montclair Co-Op”), noted for its mission to foster a lifelong enthusiasm for learning, is celebrating its Golden Jubilee or 50 years in education. And the Montclair Art Museum (“MAM”) is celebrating their Platinum Jubilee or 100 years in the art community. These Montclair “residents” share more than just an anniversary. They share a unique association anchored in art and education that continues with the support of Montclair Co-Op’s Art teacher, Debbie Harner, and the Museum’s Director of Education, Gary Schneider, and that culminates on the Museum’s February 1 Family Day.
Cindy Furlong, a Montclair Co-Op teacher, began the association by regularly taking her students to the Museum for extended gallery visits to independently interpret the Museum’s Collection. With the support of Ms. Harner and parents like Deborah Zafman, the relationship continues, and this year includes new elements.
After spending most of the fall and early winter at the Museum, the Montclair Co-Op’s seventh grade students recently acted as “docents” for the day, interpreting the Museum’s works to Montclair Cooperative students from the third grade. The seventh graders also spent time recording their interpretations of select museum works for a cell phone audio tour that debuted at the Montclair Art Museum’s recent 100th Birthday Party. One Montclair Co-Op seventh grade student said, “It was so cool to record our voice and then listen to it from our cell phone!”
The seventh grade “docents” have been invited back by the Museum to guide general visitors during the Montclair Art Museum’s Family Day on February 1st. So, if you see them on Family Day, or hear a youthful voice on your audio tour at the Museum, stop and listen. It’s the result of an innovative association between two very creative Montclair citizens. Happy Birthday Co-Op and MAM…we look forward to seeing more from the both of you!
Note: The Montclair Co-Op’s seventh grade students will produce a work of art inspired by what they experienced at the Museum and display them along with descriptive poems at the school’s Winter Art Show. The Montclair Cooperative’s students also create community art. You can view one at Ruthies Bar-B-Q & Pizza on Chestnut Street and a Day of the Dead outdoor mosaic at The Co-Op. Additional community art works are planned in Montclair to celebrate the Montclair Cooperative School’s 50 years in progressive education.