Vasundhara Prabhu - Gerrit Greve

Vasundhara Prabhu: Deputy Director for Education and Interpretation: San Diego Museum of Art

Vas Prabhu's work at the Peabody Essex Museum, in Salem MA led to their award for being one of the Top Ten child-friendly art museums in the country. She also worked at: Fine Arts Museums of SF; the MOCA, LA; the Boston Children's Museum; and Cornell University's H.F. Johnson Art Museum. She received the AAM Award for Excellence in museum education practice and was named Museum Educator of the Year twice. Prabhu has been on panels amongst others for the NEA, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the California Arts Council and the SF Arts Commission. She has taught the museum studies program at University of Southern California and has presented to courses at John F. Kennedy University and SFSU and USF. Vas is known in the museum field for innovative programs, mentoring staff, success in grants, creative family guides, development of new media, education spaces within museums, and culturally aware interpretation of exhibitions.

Question #1 What is your highlight Visual art experience from the last year?

#1 "During the October fires, SDMA educators were at Qualcomm stadium providing free art-making activities. The SDMA was open, free of charge, to those who brought donations to those in need. Paper cranes were made using Japanese origami paper folding techniques to promote healing and well-being. A letter writing collage activity was launched thanking fire fighters and volunteers who were risking their lives to save others and written to families who lost homes to help them know they weren't forgotten. The staff was treated to lunch every day by the director, a trustee, deputy directors, and staff providing a chance for staff to come together during this time. In June 2008 SDMA's family festival focused on Great Women Artists, which drew close to 5,000 people. I witnessed an 8-year-old girl reading the intro panel out loud in Spanish while in the Georgia O'Keeffe show. Then she read the English version, exclaiming proudly to the audience, "I am Mexican and I am fluent in English and Spanish!" We are so pleased that our English and Spanish bilingual efforts are succeeding in reaching out to audiences and helping them feel welcomed."

Question #2 What is your vision of the future of the Visual arts for San Diego?

#2 "My wish would be to help people feel creative every day. Working within the art museum, I witness visitors' reaction, where they make connections between themselves and the works of art. The "aha" moment is rewarding to me. Also, in the museum art school, we see children who are interested in art but reluctant or shy about their abilities. After the workshop, children beam with a new found confidence that comes from trying something new under the able guidance of an artist-educator. I am looking to document these stories that take place every day at SDMA."