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Beach Blog

Category: Visual Thinking Strategies

Beach Museum of Art Educators present on Visual Thinking Strategies

The Beach Museum of Art Education Department shared their work at multiple conferences this fall. Associate Curator of Education Kathrine Walker Schlageck presented a paper entitled “The Benefits of Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) for Special Audiences” at the International Visual Literacy Association Conference in Lueven, Belgium on October 18th. The talk covered the museum’s work with children on the Autism Spectrum, memory support, and English language learners and the use of VTS for facilitating discussions about difficult issues.

Schlageck and Education Specialist Kim Richards presented “The Art of Sustainability,” at the Kansas Museums Association’s 50th Annual Meeting in Lindsborg, Kansas on November 8, highlighting several exhibitions and programs that address environmental issues and sustainable practices.

In addition, Schlageck and Richards spent two days in October training docents from Wichita Art Museum and the Ulrich Museum at Wichita State University in Visual Thinking Strategies.

Visual Thinking Strategies is an open-ended facilitated discussion using works of art to develop evidence based reasoning, critical thinking, and communication skills.

Global Food Systems Research Science Communication Symposium


During the 2015-16 academic year, a group of graduate students and postdoctoral scientists from Global Food Systems research teams have participated in an experimental series of workshops. These focused on communication of science questions, methods, and discoveries to non-specialist audiences. The aim of the workshop has been to help these scientists strengthen skills that will help them convey the significance of their work – to legislators and funders, to their future students, and to the general public.

The visual arts, especially research around a technique called Visual Thinking Strategies, provided a starting point by examining the power of images and the importance of selecting them carefully. Later in the workshop, the group considered discoveries in neuroscience and psychology that can help a presenter maximize communication of information and concepts. The presentation events will showcase the work of this group of researchers and allow them to demonstrate their communication skills.

Jim Richardson

In his photographic projects for National Geographic over the last three decades, Jim Richardson has explored natural landscapes, human cultures, and environmental issues around the world. These worldwide photographic essays were rooted in his Kansas upbringing and the subjects he found close to home. Richardson has returned often to the subject of the prairie and the livelihoods of the people who make their homes in that ecosystem, at once rich and austere, beautiful and punishing. The exhibition of Richardson’s photographs, “Beneath the Prairie Sky” at Beach Museum of Art (March 8 – June 26, 2016), will explore life and meaning on the Great Plains. Filled with both exhilarating wonder and gnawing doubt, the artist says these photographs reflect 50 years of soul-searching.

A collaborative program of:

  • Office of the Vice President for Research
  • Beach Museum of Art
  • Prairie Studies Initiative
  • Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning


2015 Common Works of Art

Tom Kretz (United States, 1956 – 2003), Title unknown, 2001, Oil on Canvas, KSU, Beach Museum of Art, gift of Jay Melies

Annually, the Kansas State Book Network (KSBN) chooses a book which is given to all incoming students. The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore was selected as the K-State Common Book for the 2015-16 academic year. With assistance from the KSBN selection committee, two works of art that mirror the themes found in the book have been selected as the Common Works of Art. Mitosis (2000), an earthenware piece by former K-State student Jarod Morris and a 2001 untitled painting by Tom Kretz will be on display through July 2016. The 2015 academic year marks the third year the Beach Museum of Art has highlighted pieces from the museum’s permanent in conjunction with the KSBN Common Book.

12 Morris
Jerod Morris Mitosis, 2000 Earthenware KSU, Beach Museum of Art, Friends of the Beach Museum of Art (Kansas Artist Craftsmen Association Members’ Exhibition Purchase Prize Fund)