Milford teacher delved into art this summer

While most teachers were relaxing during the summer break, art teacher Patricia Aresco was deep in the study of modern art interpretation, contemporary art analysis and … carousels.  Though at first glance this might seem to be an eclectic mix of topics, the outcome for everyone involved was the same – finding ways to engage kids in the world of art.

Aresco, an art teacher at Mathewson Elementary School, was selected as a 2017 Fund For Teachers Fellow and received a $3,235 grant to participate in the Connecting Collections for Art Educators Institute workshop this summer.  She, along with more than 50 art educators from across the country, studied at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York City for one week this summer.

For Aresco, her area of interest was to learn techniques for analyzing and interpreting modern and contemporary art.  

“It was so satisfying to be in an instructional situation with other professionals in the field of art.  One of the things I take seriously is the concept of ‘learning’ and the fact that it is a lifelong activity. I want my students to see that I, also, am curious about things and want to learn more about my craft. Teachers are role models for their students – and what better way than to show them than continuing my own education,” Aresco commented last week.

As a Fellow, Aresco will help other teachers apply for Fund for Teacher opportunities, planned for 2018.

Aresco didn’t stop there, either. Thanks to an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities grant, Aresco was one of 72 teachers selected to be an NEH Scholar, and participated in a National Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop also during the summer.

The workshop was held at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, Mass., where she wrote and completed a project titled, “Art in Motion – The Carousel.” The unit of study was based on Holyoke’s famous antique carousel where coursework focused on its history, restoration and significance to the community. Aresco will deliver art lessons to her students this year based on the historic importance of carousels in the New England region and they will create artwork based on this theme.

“I want my art students to go home and be excited about what they learned in school.  I love hearing stories of children and their families talking about their art lessons, learning about the Master artists, and the art-making process.  Students need to learn how to talk about art – and how to have engaging, open-minded conversations about it – and the ability to respect someone else’s point of view.  These are important skills that they will use, not only in art class, but for the rest of their lives.”

Since 2001, Fund for Teachers has awarded $27.5 million to more than 7,400 PK-12 teachers from across the country for self-designed fellowships to support student success, enrich their practice, and strengthen their schools and communities.  Unique to this grant opportunity, teachers submit projects and destinations they believe best address specific achievement gaps – theirs and/or their students. For more information, visit