The Smithsonian Artist-in-Residence and Education Center Open Access
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Art education in the American public school system has been declining for many years due to budget cuts and legislation changes, leaving students with little exposure to art and the creative process. In addition to this educational decline, Washington, D.C. has little outreach to citizens in terms of contemporary art; D.C. is known as a place to experience history, but not as a place to experience contemporary creativity. The Smithsonian Arts and Industries building on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. is an ideal location for an Artist-in-Residence and Education Center to create a unified solution to these two major issues. The proposed complex houses artist workspaces, creating a community of contemporary artists that interact with the public as well as each other , student studios to foster interaction with artists and other students, art education spaces for public classes and lectures, an art library, museum shop which features original work by the resident artists, cafe, and exhibition space to feature the work of current and past participants in the residency program. By bringing contemporary art and the creative process to the masses, this program will engage the public in the arts and inspire a new generation of artists and art lovers.Through researching articles and books that focus on community outreach in museums, Artist Communities and Residence Programs, and the decline of arts education in America, the importance, both symbolically and practically, of a compound such as this will be examined. Published and adopted Art Standards for American Public Schools will guide the importance of interaction and understanding through art and creativity. Case studies of existing successful artist-in-residence and community outreach programs will form a framework from which to develop this unique program. An analysis of the background of the building will explain the incorporation of new ideas with the historical structure. A proposal for the redevelopment of this pace into the Smithsonian Artist-in-Residence and Education Center will complete the analysis and discovery of the feasibility of this multi-faceted project.