Van Gogh Museum and DHL Express Launch Heart for Art Educational Programme

DHL courier delivering a Van Gogh Museum Edition at a school in New York City in support of the Heart for Art programme. Credit: Mals Media 

 DHL courier delivering a Van Gogh Museum Edition at a school in New York City in support of the Heart for Art programme. Credit: Mals Media  

Amsterdam, November 2022 – The Van Gogh Museum and DHL Express are launching a new educational programme, Heart for Art. For the next three years, the global partners will collaborate to inspire children in communities with limited access to cultural education with the art and life story of Vincent van Gogh. The Heart for Art programme, which was piloted in New York City in Spring 2022, will roll-out in American cities in the months ahead with the intention to expand globally in the upcoming years. In the first 6 months the educational programme will be launched at 30 educational institutions in the United States, which would reach -and positively impact- 20,000 students in the first school year.

How Heart for Art Works

The DHL x Van Gogh Museum Heart for Art programme enables children to learn about Vincent van Gogh, stimulates their creative development and invites them to discuss significant themes from Vincent’s life such as identity, chasing dreams and dealing with setbacks. The programme is developed especially for children with no or limited access to art education. Teachers are trained by experienced Van Gogh Museum educators in special sessions – either on location or online. “We were delighted to develop a dedicated Heart for Art educational programme, based on our extensive experience with schools in The Netherlands and (international) online lessons. By training teachers worldwide to work with our educational tools we hope to connect and inspire children with Vincent’s art and life story” says Gundy van Dijk, Head of Education and Interpretation of the Van Gogh Museum.

Following the training session, teachers are asked to share what they have learned with their colleagues, in order to reach an increasing number of children. A Van Gogh Museum Edition – a 3D, high-quality reproduction of a Van Gogh artwork – will be delivered to each participating school to help bring the lessons to life. DHL will provide full-service shipping and logistics coordination of all the teaching materials and artwork. Mike Parra, Chief Executive Officer DHL Express America: “We are proud that we are able to leverage our network to help develop and inspire the lives of young children. Together with the Van Gogh Museum, we provide a platform that empowers children to become more creative and learn more about art, helping us live our purpose by delivering a better world; ‘Connecting People. Improving Lives’.”

Pilot Phase in New York

During the pilot phase, held in spring 2022, students at 5 schools in New York City took part in the Heart for Art educational programme and 20 teachers have completed the Teacher Training so far. New York Edge – the largest provider of school-based afterschool and summer programs in New York City – connected the Heart for Art programme with the teachers in New York. “Providing young people with opportunities and experiences that will enable them to expand their horizons and discover new passions is at the heart of our mission at New York Edge,” said Rachael Gazdick, CEO of New York Edge. “We are proud to collaborate with the Van Gogh Museum and DHL to educate and inspire youth through Van Gogh’s masterpieces, and we look forward to offering this fantastic initiative to more of our students this academic year.”
The experiences of both the teachers and students were overwhelmingly positive. “I had students in the special Van Gogh classes that didn’t want to leave, and stayed for the art”, reported one of the teachers following a lesson. “This guy is just like us!”, said another student about Vincent van Gogh.

The hurdles and successes were constantly evaluated during the roll-out of the DHL x Van Gogh Museum Heart for Art pilot, in order to help improve the programme. At the start of the new school year in September, the programme has been launched at 10 of New York Edge’s schools in New York City, workings towards 30 schools in the first 6 months. DHL and the Van Gogh Museum hope to have reached 20,000 students with the Heart for Art programme in the first schoolyear.

DHL x Van Gogh Museum

It will only be possible to inspire a diverse audience with Vincent van Gogh’s work and life story if they can be reached. As the Van Gogh Museum’s partner in logistics since 2020 and main partner since June 2022, DHL helps the museum to realise this mission. The multi-year Heart for Art educational programme embodies the joint ambition of the partners to positively impact the lives of future generations. These efforts will call on the Van Gogh Museum’s extensive experience with developing educational material and DHL’s global logistics network.