Established by Helen and Mark Burish, the Burish Fellowship in Art and Museum Education supports a collaborative fellowship, shared between the Chazen and the art department. The gift offers tuition remission and a semester-long, paid internship at the Chazen. Helen Burish is an art education graduate, chair of the art department’s Board of Visitors, a museum docent, and Chair of the Chazen’s Advisory Council.
There are two Burish Fellows this spring, each working 10 to 15 hours on projects in support of the museum. Sydney Lamers, a senior from Kimberly, Wisconsin near Appleton, is an art education major who’s also pursuing certificates in art history and East Asian studies. She learned about the fellowship opportunity from her adviser and decided it sounded like a great opportunity, especially for an art education major.
Since I’m going to be an art educator, most emphasis is on being a K-12 teacher, and I wanted a different experience, to see what art education is like in a museum setting,” she says. “I just wanted a different look into the art world.”
Sydney and her cohort, Hannah Eccles, have recently finished creating Family Friday videos, wherein they use Chazen works as inspiration to guide viewers at home through craft projects of their own.
For her Family Friday video, Sydney chose Face to Face by Deborah Roberts as inspiration. “I centered my Family Friday video around this piece because it’s such a beautiful collage and I really love all of Robert’s artwork,” she says. “I appreciate the meaningful messages she has for each work and I am greatly inspired by her.”
As for another favorite work, Sydney chose Sunset at Meguro in the Eastern Capital, no. 10 from the series Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji by Utagawa Hiroshige. “I’ve studied Japanese art a lot the past year and I’ve developed a deep love for it,” she says. “I love that the Chazen has such a large collection of Japanese artworks and this one I especially think is beautiful.”
They’re now working on curriculum for Grandparents University, an “an intergenerational learning experience for children aged seven to 14 who are accompanied by a grandparent or older adult relative who is not their parent.”
We are working as a team to choose artworks that we want the curriculum to be based around,’ says Lamers. “It’s about animals in art—so all the artworks that we can choose from have animals in them.”
Because of Covid restrictions, the entire Burish Fellowship has been conducted digitally this spring, rather than in-person as usual. “When I turned in my application, I wrote it assuming that the internship would be completely in person,” says Sydney. “I had no worries about Covid at the time or anything like that. It wasn’t until the interview process and after I got the internship that I realized it was going to be way different.”
Because the format is so different from usual, both students are engaging in a lot more readings and writing assignments, but Sydney is still quite pleased with how the experience is turning out and encourages any and all art and art education majors to apply.
“I think for any art educator—even any art major—it’s just such a wonderful experience to dive deeper into art museums and learn what goes on within museum education,” she says. “It’s really helped me with—in the future, when I am an art educator—incorporating the knowledge that I have of art museums, how I can turn art history into my lessons, and how I can bring all of this new knowledge into being a teacher.”