Partners in Learning

College partners

The Worcester Art Museum is proud to partner with many of Worcester’s higher education institutions, providing free admission, joint collaborations for faculty and students, and many more opportunities to learn together.

Open Door Gallery

The Worcester Art Museum is committed to increasing accessibility so community members of all abilities can discover the joy of connecting with art. We partner with Open Door Arts, an affiliate of the Seven Hills Foundation, to create gallery space for artists with disabilities which is free and open to the public.

As part of the partnership between Open Door Arts and WAM, participants are welcome to frequently visit the Museum galleries, where they find inspiration and connect further with the ideas and images from over 50 centuries of creative expression. Increasing accessibility for people with disabilities increases accessibility and understanding for everyone. We invite you to discover amazing creative works in the Open Door Gallery at WAM.

Clemente Course

For many adults in Massachusetts, aspirations for higher education and engagement with the humanities are thwarted by socioeconomic circumstances. The Museum is proud to partner with The Clemente Course in the Humanities to provide access to the arts though its global collection.

The Clemente Course provides opportunities for students (age 17 and older) from disadvantaged backgrounds, to learn about literature, art history, philosophy, American history, and writing. Clemente participants earn college credit through tuition-free, college level instruction and develop the skills and confidence needed to express themselves.

The Course is based on the premise that the insights and skills gained by studying traditional humanities disciplines can provide individuals with crucial tools for envisioning new horizons and becoming engaged in their communities. Students are provided free books, transportation, and childcare to remove barriers to completing the Course’s 110 hours of instruction.

Learn more about The Worcester Clemente Course.

The Worcester Clemente Course 10th anniversary mural of black-and-white portraits mounted on the exterior of the Higgins Education Wing

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Worcester Clemente Course, a public art project has been installed on the Lancaster Street side of the Museum’s Higgins Education Wing. Joining the Inside Out Project, Clemente Worcester has created a mural of about 50 large, black-and-white portraits of members from the Clemente community, including current and former students, partners, children of alumni, and teaching instructors. As part of our ongoing partnership, the Worcester Art Museum is proud to celebrate and support Clemente Worcester with this anniversary installation! 

Head Start

The Worcester Art Museum partners with Head Start work to provide access and hands-on art activities to children and their families. Head Start and Early Head Start are federal programs that provide funding for children ages 0-5 from low-income families to receive quality early education services.

Viewing children as strong, capable, and curious, this partnership recognizes the powerful potential of young children. By making students’ learning visible, respecting their work as valuable, and encouraging both parent and community participation, children are able to engage with the Museum in a special and personal way.

The Worcester Child Development Head Start has been offering early childhood education and comprehensive support to the most at-risk children and families in our community for over 50 years. Its mission is to provide a quality preschool program that prepares children — in partnership with families and including those with special needs – to succeed in tomorrow’s world and enter school ready to learn.

Arts Alternative

Arts Alternative is a collaboration between the Worcester County Juvenile Courts and the Worcester Art Museum. The program is designed to serve at-risk youth, enabling them to participate in guided gallery tours and related studio art-making sessions.

An exhibition of student artwork is presented annually in WAM’s Higgins Education Wing. Exploring their creativity in hands-on activities, working from primary source material in a museum setting, and exhibiting their work in a community setting has had a profound impact on the participants. Many Arts Alternative “graduates” have requested to continue participation even after their community service hours have been fulfilled.

Arts Alternative is sponsored by Bay State Savings Bank and Unum.

Worcester Public Schools

The Museum partners with the Worcester Public Schools to offer a variety of opportunities for learning and exploration to young students in grades K-12. Every 4th or 5th grade student in the city has visited the Museum annually since the 1930s, to connect curriculum with the Museum’s resources. This continues today in with the Culture LEAP initiative. In addition, the Advanced Placement Art History (APAH) course at the Worcester Art Museum provides access to high school students from across the city and held at the Museum.

Culture LEAP

The Culture LEAP (Learning Through Arts Partnerships) program connects classroom curriculum with the Museum’s global collection of art. We enjoy working with the 4th Graders of the Worcester Public Schools as part of the Culture LEAP initiative. Students spend time with our docents looking at art and discussing what they see using the Visual Thinking Strategies method.

Culture LEAP is a partnership among the Worcester Public Schools, local cultural institutions, the Worcester Cultural Coalition, and the Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc. The program receives generous support from the George I. Alden Trust and the Stoddard Charitable Trust.
Visual Teaching Strategies training at WAM is generously supported by the Hanover Insurance Group Foundation, Inc.

AP Art History

This partnership began in 2010 between the Worcester Public Schools and the Worcester Art Museum. Meeting weekly at the Museum throughout the academic year, each June the APAH students display their final projects in a special exhibition located in the Higgins Education Wing. This course examines major aspects of artist expression, from the ancient world to the present day and from a variety of cultures.

Genesis Club

The Worcester Art Museum partners with Genesis Club, Inc., a local community center that provides support, training, education, and friendship to people living with mental illness. Genesis Club is an Accredited Clubhouse, a charter member of Clubhouse International, and an international training center for clubhouses worldwide.

Learn more about Genesis Club, Inc.

Youth Art Month

Worcester Art Museum proudly hosts the regional Youth Art Month exhibition each spring. Organized by teachers from area school districts in conjunction with the Museum, this multi-media exhibition features student artwork from communities across central Massachusetts.

Established in 1961, Youth Art Month (YAM) is an annual observance in March designed to emphasize the value of art education for all youth and to encourage support for quality school art programs. The Council for Art Education (CFAE) administers the program at the national level. Thousands of schools from across the United States participate each year.