The Clyfford Still Museum’s (CSM) curatorial and educational staff recently began work on a community-wide, collaborative exhibition examining the aesthetic preferences of early learners using Clyfford Still’s artworks as a basis for study. The work will culminate in the exhibition Clyfford Still, Art, and the Young Mind, opening in September 2021.
During the next year, CSM staff will work with young children, ages six weeks to eight years old, and teachers from partner schools and childcare centers around the Denver Metro Area on every level of the exhibition, including artwork selection and arrangement, object interpretation and gallery text, and programming.
“Breaking down the misconception that abstraction is too complex for young children, Clyfford Still, Art, and the Young Mind will present current and generate new research illuminating the rich benefits of art museum experiences in young children’s lives,” said Nicole Cromartie, Director of Education and Programs and co-curator of the exhibition. “Though primarily created by and for early learners, the exhibition will include various levels of engagement to encourage visitors of all ages to explore abstraction, the progression of visual function and preference, and the intrinsic power behind Clyfford Still’s art.”
School partners include Colorado State University Early Childhood Center, Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment, Head Start at the Dagny Site, Gust Elementary, Boulder Journey School, Center for Talent Development, and Catholic Charities ECE Programs at Mariposa (Head Start). In addition to area schools, thought partners for this exhibition include the School of Education & Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver, the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children, and the Colorado Head Start Association.
About Clyfford Still, Art, and the Young Mind
September 17, 2021–January 23, 2022
Installed in five of the Museum’s nine galleries and based on current research and field work, the exhibition will investigate five significant themes in the visual development of infants through early childhood: high contrast, pattern, scale, recognizable imagery, and bright, highly-saturated colors. Gallery text will reveal not only how children in the community responded to these five themes, but also how Still achieved an artform that continues to resonate through time by mastering these fundamental visual motifs. The remaining galleries in the Museum will be arranged in a chronological narrative and will highlight masterworks from the collection selected with families and young children in mind.
The exhibition marks the next chapter of CSM’s fostering of engagement with its unique collections by facilitating significant experiences of Still’s work with an entirely new audience for the Museum. By engaging with this growing field of research, the CSM continues to fulfill its mission to broaden the definition of a single-artist museum through the generation of cutting-edge exhibitions, scholarly research, and educational and other cross-disciplinary programs. For more information, visit https://clyffordstillmuseum.org/youngminds.