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Crocker's Traveling Art Museum Visits Stockton Schools

Rich Ibarra / Capital Public Radio

Rich Ibarra / Capital Public Radio

Kindergarteners at Nightingale Charter School in Stockton are playing African drums. They're inside a mobile trailer called the Art Ark from the Crocker Museum.

Museum Guide Mandy Werrin points to a map of the world.

"So this is the continent of Africa and this is where most of our art comes from," Werrin explains.

An African mask hangs from the wall. Exhibits range from posters to clothing.
Alison Flory of the Crocker Museum says the travelling exhibit fits well into Black History Month.

"This exhibition allows students to look at where cultural inspirations possibly came from, the African-American people that are celebrated this month," says Flory.


The Ark visits about two dozen schools every year, with about 100 students passing through every day.

Guide Mandy Werrin shows the class African symbols. She demonstrates how symbols convey ideas, and how the kids can draw their own symbols.

"So a symbol can be like a picture or a color that can mean something else," says Werrin.  "So if I were to draw this, what did I just draw?"

Kids: "A heart."

Werrin: "A heart... so what does a heart usually mean?"

Kids: "Love"

Werrin: "Think of love, right?"


Nightingale Art Teacher Allison Atas says the Art Ark is more than pictures on a wall.

"Our kids experience an interactive museum where they're learning to do African dance, they're learning about African art, and they get to have all these hands on experiences," says Atas.

For 5-year-old Gabriela Valdivia it's a whole new world.

"The African world is not like our world, it's different like our world."



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