Home Home Home About Us Home About Us About Us About Us /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html About Us About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html /links/index.html
Home About Us About Us /links/index.html /advertising/index.html /advertising/index.html
About Us /archives/index.html /archives/index.html /subscribe/index.html /subscribe/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /survey/index.html /links/index.html










Camps & Sports


Children’s Corner

Collected Features


Cover Stories

Distance Learning


Famous Interviews


Medical Update

Metro Beat

Movies & Theater


Music, Art & Dance

Special Education

Spotlight On Schools

Teachers of the Month


















New York City
November 2002

Profiles in Education:
Muriel Silberstein-Storfer: Art Educator, A Legend in Her Own Time
By Sybil Maimin

“Hands-on art is where it all starts,” explains Muriel Silberstein-Storfer, revered art educator who created the immensely popular Parent-Child Studio Workshops at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and founded the non-profit outreach organization, Doing Art Together. If human beings had not created art, there would be no art today, she reminds those who regard it as expendable, a luxury for the rich. Art is a necessity in life, and it is for everyone. Explaining the hands-on philosophy of her workshops, she quotes an old Chinese proverb, “What I hear, I forget; what I see, I remember; what I do, I know.”

Silberstein-Storfer learned to communicate through the arts at a very early age and credits her art instructor and mentor at Fieldston High School, Victor d’Amico, with teaching her that “disciplined art skills and aesthetic awareness could enhance every area of life.” “He changed my life,” she says. She majored in Theater Arts, studying costume and scene design, at Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon University, and afterward, while attending a parent-child workshop with her three young children at The Museum of Modern Art’s Institute of Modern Art, which was headed by d’Amico, discovered the power of interactive shared experiences and the wisdom of her mentor’s conviction that parents must encourage sensory awareness and creativity to help their children grow. She became an instructor at the MOMA Institute and after it closed in 1970 continued to teach at various venues discovering that her methods were effective whatever a student’s background. In 1972 she was asked by The Metropolitan Museum of Art to organize parent-child workshops for members. She started with 2 classes a week and today, thirty years later, brings her skills and passion to 8 groups of three to five year olds and their accompanying parents, grandparents, or caregivers. In many cases, the classes have become a family tradition and children, when grown, bring their own children to the workshop. One mother is currently attending with her fifth child, having already shared the art experience with the other four.

“The class is disciplined, structured, and joyous. It is not playtime,” explains Silberstein -Storfer. Children and parents sit on separate sides of the room and work individually. They learn to use materials, tools and imagination and to communicate through the non-verbal language of art. The class begins with a demonstration and discussion; for example, how various brushstrokes can create different feelings and environments. By working diligently, the parents in the room convey to their child the serious pleasure of “doing art.” They learn art vocabulary and working procedures to use with their child at home, and they have fun.

In 1982, wanting to reach a broader population, Silberstein-Storfer established Doing Art Together in collaboration with her colleague, art educator/studio instructor Electra Askitopoulos Friedman. They acquired the cooperation of the Board of Education and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The mission of this not-for-profit organization is to foster “hands on” art courses in schools and social service agencies, including Head Start programs, hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Mrs. Friedman is the program director, acting as school liason. She meets with principals and classroom teachers for orientations, discussions of curriculum and professional development training.Classrom teachers do the projects along with the children in six to 24-week programs, which include a museum visit and a school exhibition of their work. The success of these initiatives, together of the publication of their book Doing Art Together in 1982 led to the recognition of the Doing Art Together organization as a valued asset to the field of art education. The book is a step-by-step guide to replicating the Met workshops at home or in other settings. A CD-Rom for children, “look what I see,” followed in 1997.

That to Muriel Silberstein-Storfer “life and art are inseparably entwined” is seen by the many roles she plays in the city’s art world. She is a community trustee emeritus of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and sits on its education and borough relations committees. She was a long-time member of the Art Commission of the City of New York, the agency that reviews all art and architecture on public land, and currently is on its Associates executive committee. She received the prestigious Artworks 2000 Art Educator Award from the New York City Art Teachers Association (NYCATA). She sits on many boards and commissions and has received numerous awards. And you can still have the pleasure of learning from her in her classes, from her book, or by watching her CD-ROM.#

For questions about Doing Art Together, call 212-650-2512. For information about classes at The Met call the membership department at 212-570-3753.

City: State:

Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919.Email: ednews1@aol.com.
All material is copyrighted and may not be printed without express consent of the publisher. © 2002.