Prabhu: Deputy Director for Education and Interpretation: San
Diego Museum of Art
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.
#1 What is your highlight Visual art experience from the last year?
"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."
#2 What is your vision of the future of the Visual arts for San Diego?
"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