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Students Prepare for 'Virtual' Visit to Picasso Exhibition

Media contact(s) 

Students Prepare for "Virtual" Visit To Picasso Exhibition

Bell Atlantic, Maryland Public Television and the National Gallery of Art Join to Network Thursday's Electronic Field Trip

May 20, 1997

Media contacts:

Bell Atlantic

Jim Smith


National Gallery of Art

Patricia O'Connell


Maryland Public Television

Colleen Wright


WASHINGTON -- Students and teachers across the metropolitan Washington
area are getting ready to plug into Picasso Thursday morning (May 22)
in one of the most ambitious applications of a networked
lecture-demonstration ever produced.

Hundreds of teacher and student guides have been downloaded from
Maryland Public Television's internet web site (
and students have logged on to preview Pablo Picasso's early works at
the National Gallery of Art web site (

On Thursday, May 22, from 9 to 10 a.m., they'll have the opportunity to
take an interactive virtual field trip for a behind the scenes look at
Picasso: The Early Years,
, the popular exhibition now open at
the National Gallery. Their lesson will be delivered over distance
learning facilities and public television stations.

Bell Atlantic, sponsor of the exhibition, is funding the MPT
production as part of the educational outreach program the company and
the Gallery developed to increase student exposure to the rare
collection of Picasso's early works.

Students from Jefferson Junior High School in Washington will be on
site at the Gallery. Students from Mt. Hebron High School (Ellicott
City, Md.) and Towson (Maryland) High School will go on the "field
trip" over two-way video networks built by Bell Atlantic that let them
see, hear and ask questions in real time. Students in hundreds of
other classrooms will watch over MPT Channels 22, 28, 31, 36, 62 and
67 and WETA-TV, Channel 26, sending in questions or comments via the
Internet, telephones and faxes.

Baltimore actor and narrator Barbara Linton will host the show,
assisted by Gallery curator Jeffrey Weiss and art historians and
educators Linda Downs, Wilford Scott and Anne Henderson. One of the
Gallery's painting conservators, Ann Hoeningswald, will host a visit
to the conservation lab, where "hidden" images underneath several of
the paintings, will give insight into the work of this modern master.

"The National Gallery has risen to the challenge of making the
educational outreach associated with this exhibition touch the lives
of thousands of students," said Patrick C.G. Coulter, vice
president-corporate communications for Bell Atlantic.

"And MPT has demonstrated a real appreciation for the ability of
networked information to transform education. This combination of
technologies will thrust the essence of the Picasso exhibition into
hundreds of classrooms and thousands of young hearts and minds in an
extraordinary way," Coulter said.

The MPT web site carries extensive background information on the
artist, including challenging questions that help students understand
Picasso and his work. There's also a special contest to encourage
students to collaborate in the creation of a work of art.

MPT will broaden the reach of the event by telecasting a 30-minute
edited version of the field trip at 7:30 p.m.,Thursday, June 26, and
Wednesday, July 2, for viewing by families.

Gail Porter Long, vice president of education and telecommunications
for MPT, called the event "a unique educational experience" targeted
to youngsters who are the ages Picasso was when much of the works in
the exhibition were created.

She noted the Bell Atlantic has funded other electronic field trips
and will also support a virtual visit to the Columbus Center, the
Baltimore marine sciences facility, in the fall.

Bell Atlantic Corporation (NYSE: BEL) is at the forefront of the new
communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, Bell Atlantic's phone companies are the premier
providers of local telecommunications and advanced services.
Globally, it is one of the largest investors in the high-growth
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