A r t o l o g y is an art and biology summer learning program that sparks students’ curiosity through
a curriculum that integrates natural sciences and the arts and utilizes Philadelphia’s vast natural splendor as a vibrant and evolving classroom. The program serves Philadelphia youth, including
those coping with homelessness and poverty from BuildaBridge’s partner sites in North, West, and North West Philadelphia. These students benefit from hands-on educational experiences, and from BuildaBridge’s commitment to excellence and its holistic approach to learning and art-making.
Since 2007, BuildaBridge successfully implemented its distinctive Artology camp. Students trekked through Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park system armed with magnifying glasses, drawing boards, and cameras. They brought their discoveries back to their classroom where they learned to use microscopes and art materials to interpret their findings. Students left the program with increased creative, observational, and analytic ability, improved knowledge of local ecosystems, and a more concrete understanding of how each individual is connected to his or her community and environment. Artology expanded student’s conceptions of both the art and science disciplines, generating interest, enthusiasm, and opportunity.
This program teaches students the foundations of scientific inquiry such as observing, classifying, measuring, comparing and contrasting, recognizing patterns, formulating hypotheses, and experimenting. They become aware of the intersection of these fundamentals with artistic discovery. While learning key elements and principles of art, they discuss environmental impact and responsibility, recycling, and renewable resources. They are guided by exemplary works of art and engage in critical discussions. To promote focus and reflection, each day begins with a drum circle and ends with journaling.
Field trips include participation in curriculum programs at local Arboretums, Environmental Centers, and Art Museums. The camp culminates in a celebration and exhibition at an established museum where parents and the community can interact with students and view their work. Curriculum used in the Artology camp is developed and taught in collaboration with professional artists, science teachers, and medical students, and supplements participants’ public school education by meeting PA state standards in art and science.