Kelly Jordan. Courtesy photo


The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University will reopen this fall. When it does, guests will see four new centers have been created: education, conservation, curatorial studies, and prints, drawings, and photographs. Kelly Jordan was hired in the spring as the pre-K–12 experiences manager in the Center of Education. Her job is to connect the museum and its collection to teachers and students. 

“A large part is rural outreach,” Jordan, 44, says. “We want to extend the museum’s presence to teachers further out and build connections with them.” Jordan’s position is funded by the IU Center for Rural Engagement.

Jordan holds a B.F.A. from Wright State University and an M.F.A. in painting from IU. She has taught at IU, the IUPUI Herron School of Art and Design, and Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington. Her background also includes creating and leading youth programming at the Monroe County Public Library.

“To me, [this job is] the perfect combo of all I care about—art, teaching, service—and what that can mean for teachers on a broader scope,” Jordan says.

The museum’s collection can serve as a teaching tool for all disciplines, Jordan says. “There is a potential and richness to object-based learning,” Jordan says. “We have such an incredible collection—45,000 objects. I’m excited to show [teachers] ways to engage students with our resources.”

Jordan also hopes to host professional development opportunities at the museum or in schools and to co-create curriculum with educators.

“Teachers’ biggest obstacle is time. Building a whole new assignment is time-consuming,” Jordan says. “We want to help teachers integrate art-based practices into the standards they already have to teach.”

Jordan will also oversee Youth Art Month in April, public programming in the center’s studio space, and classroom demonstrations. Summer camps are also a possibility. 

“I see art as a tool for empowering children,” Jordan says. “Millions of times a day, they’re seeing images, and to understand how that affects them and their place in society is powerful. Empowerment and agency, that’s what I want for them.”