Artist Exploration Program

Presented by Gail Harrison Roman, Ph.D.

Offered to area elementary schools, including five in Port Chester, LOOK! is designed to provide visual and creative literacy arts education to young children through learning about famous artists and their works. Since 1986 The Rye Arts Center has offered this program, organizing and training a network of parent volunteers to instruct thousands of children to understand the creative process of artists ranging from 15th-century artist Arcimboldo to 20th-century sculptor Alexander Calder. Through lectures and hands-on projects undertaken in the classroom, LOOK! exposes young minds to the history of art while helping them create art using the same concepts and techniques as the masters. Offering this arts education experience through parent docents creates a bond between the adults and children as they experience the arts and creative process together.

The Rye Arts Center announces a change in name for its long-standing, popular program “Famous Artists.” Going forward, the program will be known as “LOOK!,” which will continue to focus on individuals and groups of artists as well as on a variety of mediums and aesthetics. The presentations will be enhanced by an examination of how artists employ and interpret the techniques and principles of art production, especially in today’s world. Emerging artists – as well as “famous” ones will be considered, as will different mediums and forms of design, including textile arts, printmaking, and digital arts.

Each semester, LOOK! brings innovative arts education directly into dozens of classrooms throughout the region. A professional arts educator at The Rye Arts Center trains parents and teachers as docents so they can share lessons and activities with a classroom of students.

Upcoming Docent Training Date:
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
10:00 - 11:30 am

This fall, The Rye Arts Center's Look! Program will explore the work of Yayoi Kusama a Japanese contemporary artist who works in numerous mediums including sculpture, painting, installation, performance, film, fashion, and various literary forms. She draws her subject matter from her own life and from contemporaneous cultural developments in the West and Japan. While much of her work addresses psychosexual themes and painted nude models, for students there are amazing fashion designs and portraits treated with Kusama’s inimitable use of dots that accentuate the subject and also partially obscure it. One accompanying project on portraiture will challenge the students to investigate transparency and overlapping as devices that can both describe and deny the materiality of the subject. Another project will inspire the students to create fashion designs that reflect their identities. Kusama’s work will be on exhibit in New York City in fall 2019 and winter 2020.

Registration Fee:
$250 per school per semester (unlimited docents)
$75 individual parents or teachers (schools do not need to participate)

If you are a parent and would like to get your school involved, please click the button below to register.

If you are a teacher, please call Adam Levi, Senior Director, at
(914) 967-0700, ext. 24 or

Here is what some of our participants have said about Look!

(Formerly known as the Famous Artist Program)

The Rye Arts Center’s docent program has been a wonderful way to have parents participate in the art education of their children. The children enjoy having the parent docents come into their classrooms, and the excellent training provided by the Rye Arts Center makes it all possible.
The training includes valuable information about the featured artist, as well as literature and classroom support material. We consider it a valuable part of our art curriculum!
— Joanne O’Connor, Art Teacher, Chapel School & St. Joseph’s School Bronxville
Every piece of information and training is very well prepared by the Famous Artists Team: from the inspiring meeting – well ahead of time, to the detailed material – focused equally on the docents and the students, everything is carefully prepared and thought of in order to provide a very interesting and enjoyable time for everyone!
The organizing team suggests that we work with a partner, another volunteer docent, which makes the whole preparation richer from the exchange you have with the other docent.
— Laurel Faintreny, Parent-Docent, French American School, Larchmont
A fantastic, yet affordable enrichment program and the parent presenters, as well as the students, get so much out of it.
The fact that you time your choice of artists to when their work is being exhibited in the New York metropolitan area is fantastic. It gives families the opportunity to share in the students’ excitement about the artists by seeing the works in person.
— Rena Hecht, Famous Artists Chair/PTA Vice President, Harrison Avenue School
The children looked at one work of art by each artist, Alexander (Sandy) Calder and Joan Miro, and shared their ideas about the paintings. Then the mom/facilitator read them “Sandy’s Circus” — a story about Calder, his wire circus animals , and his invention of the mobile. Afterwards the children made a mobile together. Each child had the opportunity to pick his/her own animal stencil, draw it, cut it out, and decorate it. Now, the mobile is hanging in the classroom. Many of the children wanted to bring home duplicate cut-outs of the animal they chose. They did an amazing job and were all very excited about the project.
— Posted on the Famous Artists Blogsite by parent-docent, Osborn School