An Online Distance-Learning Program of the Peninsula Fine Arts Center

ARTreach: Experience Mali is an exciting distance-learning initiative designed to enhance Standards of Learning-based education.

These programs specifically address 3rd grade History Social Science Virginia SOLs History 3.2 Geography 3.4 and Economics 3.8, but are suitable for other subjects and grade levels as well. Four programs designed to enhance Standards of Learning-based education include: visits to the Chrysler and Muscarelle Museum collections, a conversation with a collector and educator on Malian art and a mask-making workshop. Funded in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.

Program 1: The Art of Mali at the Chrysler Museum of Art

A visit with Scott Howe, Director of Education and Public Programs; Filmed at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia. (


Program 2: The Art of Mali at the Muscarelle Museum of Art

A Visit with Amy Gorman, Curator of Education; Filmed at the Muscarelle Museum of Art, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. (


Program 3: The Diverse Arts of Mali: Adornment and Daily Life

A visit with Educator and Collector Anne Cipriano; Filmed on location.


Program 4: Art Activity: Making a Dogon Mask

Presented by Virginia artist Richard Ward; Filmed at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center.


Also available online: These 50-minute programs on the West African country of Mali include storytelling and dance demonstrations, a visual arts workshop and a presentation by a collector and scholar on Malian art.

Storyteller Demonstration: Tales of the Griot by Atumpan

Atumpan teaches the importance of the drum and the storyteller as a means of communication in Malian society. The memory of ancient Mali is alive today in the tales of the griots—the professional historians, praise-singers and musical entertainers of the Manding people. Malians still depend on their griots, or jelis, to remind them of their place in history. The griot will use drumming and storytelling to take students back to the glory of ancient Africa.


Dance Demonstration: Dance from the Kingdom of Mali by Ancestral Footprints

Ancestral Footprints explores the rich tradition of music and dance in Malian culture. Students experience exciting and informative demonstrative performances of African dance and music based on traditions from the empire of Mali. Dancers introduce students to traditional themes of respect, harmony, teamwork, and cooperation through rhythm and dance.


Visual Arts Demonstration: The Masks of Mali by Phillip Muzi Branch

Masks are face coverings that alter and transform the identities of the African performers wearing them. Most masks and costumes in Africa are physical representations of spirits, beings associated with spirits or cultural heroes. They are an important part of ceremonies of initiation and transformation. They bridge the human and spirit realms through elaborate spectacles that combine music, dance, costumes, sculpture, and feasting. Phillip Muzi Branch will demonstrate to your students how to create their own masks in the tradition of Mali using simple materials. A materials list is provided and students follow along with the program to create their own masks.


Discussion with a Collector: The Arts and Culture of Mali by Anne Cipriano

Educator and collector Anne Cipriano will lead students on a tour of Mali using photographs selected from the Eliot Elisofon Archives of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, and traditional objects. Cipriano will discuss masks, trade and ritual objects in the context of historic and contemporary Malian existence. The history of Africa will come to life as students learn about the ceremonial and utilitarian importance of the arts in Malian culture throughout the centuries.


ARTreach: Experience Mali also includes a traveling exhibition of photographs from the Eliot Elisofon Archives of the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, and Washington, D.C. It is available without fee to schools and other organizations throughout Hampton Roads. Sponsored in part by the Newport News Commission, Newport News, VA

For information about other Peninsula Fine Arts Center programs, call 757-596-8175.