Wednesday 3 May 2023, Amsterdam – Following a successful start in New York at the beginning of the academic year, the Heart for Art educational programme has now been launched in another four large American cities: Houston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Over three years, the programme – developed by DHL and the Van Gogh Museum – aims to use Vincent van Gogh’s work and life story to inspire thousands of children who have limited access to art education. The lessons stimulate the pupils’ creative development and encourage them to discuss important themes associated with Vincent’s life. By taking this next significant step, 17,000 children at more than 100 schools are reached with the Heart for Art educational programme.
Before the Heart for Art lessons started at the schools by the end of April, educators from the Van Gogh Museum held special teacher training days in collaboration with Houston ISD, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Pennfield Middle School in Philadelphia and the “I Have a Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles. The participating schools also received tailor-made teaching materials and a Van Gogh Museum Edition: a high-quality 3D reproduction of a Vincent van Gogh artwork. “It’s like his exact painting and it’s so cool it’s in our classroom and we are able to touch it”, says one the students of Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School in Houston. “Feeling the brushstrokes really influences the way you think about the painting.”
DHL was responsible for the logistical coordination of the teaching materials and the Van Gogh Museum Edition. “It’s an honour to leverage our global delivery network to help develop and inspire the lives of thousands of children here in Houston where art is so important to our culture,” says Greg Hewitt, CEO, DHL Express U.S. “At DHL, our purpose is to connect people and improve lives. So, together with the Van Gogh Museum and HISD, we are doing just that by providing a platform that empowers children to become more creative, learn about self-expression, and have a better cultural understanding of our world.”
Caption: DHL courier delivering a Van Gogh Museum Edition at one of the participating schools, Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School, Houston ISD. Photo: Ali Asher
The DHL x Van Gogh Museum Heart for Art educational programme introduces children to the world of Vincent van Gogh, stimulates their creative development and invites them to discuss important themes from Vincent’s life, such as identity, chasing dreams and dealing with setbacks. “During the live and online Heart for Art training sessions for teachers in the different cities in the US, I witnessed how the teachers realised that they had much more in common with Vincent van Gogh than they initially thought. Particularly the personal aspect showed the teachers just how relevant Vincent’s story and artworks are to the youth of today” says Gundy van Dijk, Head of Education and Interpretation at the Van Gogh Museum.
“The work we are doing with the Van Gogh Museum expands our instructional reach much beyond anything we could have envisioned,” adds Chandel Bonner-Hancock, Houston ISD Secondary Visual Arts Curriculum Specialist. “Partnerships like the one we have with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and now with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and DHL, have provided our students on 59 campuses with an opportunity unlike any other. We are grateful.”
DHL x Van Gogh Museum
It will only be possible to inspire a diverse audience with Vincent van Gogh’s work and life story if they can be reached. As the Van Gogh Museum’s partner in logistics since 2020 and main partner since June 2022, DHL helps the museum to realise this mission. The multi-year Heart for Art educational programme embodies the joint ambition of the partners to positively impact the lives of future generations. These efforts will call on the Van Gogh Museum’s extensive experience with developing educational material and DHL’s global logistics network.