BMA Speaks

Museum News

BMA Speaks Named Innovative Program by AAMD

The Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) has released Next Practices in Art Museum Education, a resource that compiles information about AAMD member museums’ innovative approaches to engaging the public with the arts through diverse learning opportunities. The publication features 100 case studies of next practices in educational programming that AAMD member museums have designed and implemented, and features BMA Speaks. The resource underscores the many forms art museum education can take, and provides practical and inspiring ideas for future programming at institutions worldwide.

BMA Speaks began in February 2009 and has continued as a quarterly series since then. Nationally and internationally known poets and performers have been featured at BMA Speaks including Patricia Smith, Orron Kenyetta, and Priscilla Hancock Cooper. Hosted by local celebrity Sharrif Simmons, the series also serves as a forum for dialog between the performers and the audience and offers an opportunity for artists with varying levels of experience to perform original works.

“BMA Speaks invites new audiences to the Museum in an informal manner that offers a welcoming environment for the first-time visitor, as well as engaging our existing audience in a new way,” says BMA Director Gail Andrews. “Because of this program I have seen those first-time visitors become repeat visitors and often become more deeply engaged with the Museum collection and programs as time has passed.  I am often impressed and moved with the poetry inspired by the works in our collection, which offer a new and sometimes profound way to understand a work of art.”

“At their core, museums are educational institutions that play a unique role in complementing and extending their regions’ educational resources for children, students, and adults,” says Chris Anagnos, Executive Director of AAMD. “With the publication of Next Practices, AAMD presents case studies of innovative educational programs developed by our members as a resource for the field, educators, civic leaders, and the public. Education is central to our field, and we so pleased that the Birmingham Museum of Art is committed to fostering innovative programming to engage and inspire the Birmingham community.”

AAMD represents 240 art museums across the United States, Canada, and Mexico—from regional museums to large museums in urban centers. To learn more about AAMD’s Next Practices in Art Museum Education, a PDF can be downloaded here.