What art history teaches us
Much of the knowledge and information produced in the 21st century is communicated through images. Studying art history provides students with the skills to critically analyze and comprehend the visual arguments conveyed in these images. Art history also provides students with the tools necessary to communicate this understanding in coherent written and verbal forms.
Studying art history allows students to engage with the ways in which people in the past and present--patrons, artists, users and
viewers--have created and employed images and to what ends. Indeed, students of art history study works of art that embody the most important ideas and cherished aspirations of cultures through time and across the globe. As a result, they gain a deeper understanding of a global, and multicultural, past and present.
In studying art history students consider how scholars and others have thought about a given work and are asked to find their place in that discussion. In the art history classroom we carefully look at images and analyze them, research the cultures in which they were
produced and make arguments about their meanings and impact.
What studio art teaches us
By strengthening their observational drawing skills and recognition of the complexities and continual rearrangement of design elements (i.e. line, shape, rhythm, color, space, volume, etc.), students will be better able to critically understand the visual structure of objects and scenes, particularly in works of art. Students will be introduced to a wide array of materials and methods. These will include traditional and historical practices as well as those more contemporary and innovative. Special attention will be paid to safe and environmentally responsible practices.
Through these studies, students will be able to engage, and more fully understand, the principals and precepts that guide others while producing their own works of art. This visual intelligence will lead to an enhanced practice of solving problems that arise in the making of their own works. Students will then be better able to place their work, and the works of others, into a larger community context. In turn, this will re-enforce the communicative power and purpose of making art. With a more nuanced, measured, and interpretive understanding of art forms, students will mature into better critics and practitioners whether in the fine arts or applied fields.
Ultimately, students will make art that is intellectually honest, personal, and useful as a means of better understanding their lives and experiences. Their work will present these ideas in cogent, original and convincing ways.