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The Discerning Eye

The Discerning Eye is a program designed to guide professionals–medical students, police cadets, corporate teams, and others–in using art as a way to hone skills in observation, communication, team-building, diversity awareness, and leadership through exercises and activities conducted in museum galleries.

Skilled professional facilitators lead small groups in conversations about works of art from various periods and cultures. Rather than dispensing information about the artworks or teaching art history, emphasis is placed on productive exchanges of ideas and personal points of view. No prior training or experience with art is required! As the session progresses and participants share observations with each other, awareness of different viewpoints emerges, and the complex interrelatedness of experience, perspectives, and emotional response is revealed.

Each two-hour program is individually tailored to meet the goals and desired outcomes of your group. Working closely with a museum educator, artworks that offer the greatest opportunity for focused conversations are selected in preparation for your visit. Programs may be conducted during the museum's public hours, or you may request an early-morning session that takes place before the galleries officially open, offering a more intimate learning experience.

Coming to the museum sets the stage for a new kind of learning. Breaking out of the daily workplace routine allows fresh thinking and excitement that animates the conversations. Whether observing the distinctions between different paintings of wheat stacks by Impressionist Claude Monet or discussing possible meanings of a work of modern sculpture, participants invariably offer a wide range of responses that demonstrate the value of multiple viewpoints and varied perspectives. Skills developed in the Discerning Eye program can be applied to such real-life scenarios as searching for clues at a crime scene, observing a patient's symptoms, or reaching a consensus in a corporate board room. To start planning the Discerning Eye for your workplace or program, e-mail artexpress@artic.edu

For an even more in-depth experience and exploration of your group's potential that includes the professional resources and facilities of Catalyst Ranch, Chicago's most creative conference space, consider the Art-Work program.