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Apr. 28, 2010

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Harn Museum of Art creates partnership with PACE Center for Girls

GAINESVILLE, Fla. —None of them had seen the brushstrokes of Monet, and very few had even heard of him. For the girls who attend the PACE Center in Gainesville, Fla., the organization’s new partnership with the Harn Museum of Art is providing an opportunity to make a personal connection with fine art.

Ages 12 to 17, the girls who attend PACE have been identified as “at-risk.” The purpose of PACE is to intervene and prevent school withdrawal, juvenile delinquency, teen pregnancy, substance abuse and welfare dependency in a safe and nurturing environment. Through a new collaboration with the Harn Museum, many of the girls are experiencing art for the first time.

“It has been an amazing experience for the girls,” said Kathie Southwick, executive director of PACE. “This is a whole new world for them that they would never experience without this partnership. It has opened their world and expanded their horizons, which is what PACE is all about.”

The program was designed to build the girls’ confidence, creativity, visual awareness and social skills and to inspire a love of learning. By looking, talking, writing and creating, the girls are developing the critical skills necessary to analyze art and articulate their ideas.

As part of the program, museum staff members have visited PACE five times since November 2009 and presented information about art history, elements and principles, cultivating the girls’ interest in art and sparking conversation about its meaning and creation. The girls also engaged in a study of cultures, artists’ materials and styles of art when they visited the museum. After each of their four visits, PACE students were encouraged to use work in the museum as inspiration and create original works of their own.

Two University of Florida students helped plan and execute the project under the direction of the Harn’s education department. “For the UF students, this was an impacting, career-building opportunity, and for the PACE girls, it was a bonding experience,” said Bonnie Bernau, education curator of community outreach at the Harn. “Feedback surveys for each visit captured the successes and enthusiasm. In one survey, a PACE student commented: ‘It was great, I wish we could keep going!’”

Approximately 40 students displayed their works of art and related writings during a lunch reception April 27. In attendance were family members, PACE teachers and staff, Harn staff and Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation funders.

The partnership is made possible by The Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation. The Harn Museum plans to offer this educational experience for the PACE students again in Spring 2011.

For more information about this program call 352-392-9826.



Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
Founded in 1990, the Harn Museum of Art is an integral part of the University of Florida. The Harn contributes to an interconnected, international community by integrating the arts and culture into curricula throughout the university’s system of colleges and centers. Its holdings include nearly 7,000 works in five main collecting areas: Asian art, African art, photography, modern art of the Americas and Europe, and contemporary art. In addition to rotating installations drawn from its permanent collection, the Harn organizes traveling exhibitions, public lectures, panel discussions, academic symposia and educational programs for adults, students and children. In 2011, the Harn will open the 26,000-square-foot David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing, which will feature two levels of galleries, curatorial and conservation space, and a series of outdoor Asian gardens.

The Harn Museum, at Southwest 34th Street and Hull Road in Gainesville, Fla., is part of the University of Florida’s Cultural Plaza, which is also home to the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is free. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The museum is open until 9 p.m. the second Thursday of every month for Museum Nights. The Camellia Court Café is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call 352-392-9826 or visit

Media contact :
Tami Wroath
Harn Museum of Art
(352) 392-9826 x2116

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