More Ways To Get Inspired

Courtesy of Art Center College of Design

Courtesy of Art Center College of Design

Fall has definitely arrived. My front doorstep is beginning to pile high with leaves, and my inbox is overflowing with emails from colleges and universities. The change in season seems to kick-start the collegiate lecture and workshop circuit, just when I’m looking for some artistic inspiration and am ready to spend more time indoors. Perfect!

Colleges and universities show off their smarts by hosting community-gathering events, led by some very talented and creative individuals. What a great way to learn from those who are working in the arts, creating opportunities, and pushing boundaries. Here’s a chance to broaden your horizons, change your perspective, and get inspired.

I’ve highlighted some individual events as well as entire series’. Make sure to check them out, and do a bit of digging in your own backyard.

Pratt – New York
The Art of Dining: How Master Chefs and Designers Collaborate (October 23)

Columbia University – New York
School of the Arts
Fall 2014 public programs

University of Wisconsin – Madison, WI
Visiting artists 2014-2015
Holland Cotter, Art Critic for The New York Times (October 30)
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, L160; 6:00 pm

Southern Methodist University – Dallas, TX
Meadows School of the Arts
Fall 2014 Lecture Series

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts – Philadelphia, PA
Visiting Artists Program

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Why Art History?

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse

Art and design are all about doing. Creating, building, drawing, painting, sculpting; you get the picture. Sometimes we forget that an important aspect of creating something new relies on understanding something old; something that others have created before us. It could have been designed last month or constructed two centuries ago. The age doesn’t matter; it all adds value.

Just like today’s artists, those of the past depicted the world as they knew it, they brought new ideas to the public’s attention, and they broke new ground. Through their dedication, they’ve enriched today’s broader understanding of varied perspectives and viewpoints. And perhaps unconsciously, they are guiding and influencing today’s and tomorrow’s artists.

If your passion is to understand the indigenous peoples of Pre-Columbia or the natural beauty of the world as depicted during the Renaissance, you’re not alone. There are a number of excellent art and design history programs to help you explore and comprehend a specific time or place, or to provide you with a broad understanding of artistic influences across a wide time period.

Chinese statues, Chin Dynasty

Chinese statues, Chin Dynasty

The study of Art History typically incorporates theory and criticism, as well as archeology, conservation, and museum studies. Period-relevant cultural and social contexts are examined, and many programs integrate studio work for an additional hands-on perspective. Apprenticeships and internships in galleries, museums, or educational settings are encouraged for a comprehensive understanding of potential career opportunities. Study abroad experiences add even more depth.

According to SnaapShot 2012, an annual online survey by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, the top career paths for art history majors include education and training, library services, curatorial and museum/gallery work. Careers in publishing, grant writing, and auction houses are also common.

Where do you begin your search? Try some of these colleges:

Most institutions offer a BA, but some provide the opportunity for a BFA as well. Minors are common for those wanting to add value their studio focus. If for no other reason, I’d suggest taking art history courses just to give you a different perspective. They’ll enhance your life, and work. Among those I’ve taken, the one on indigenous peoples of Indonesia and Africa fascinated me, and forever changed my life… in a good way.

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