|The importance of art in everyday life
Class travels to Chicago to tour museums
RELEASED: Feb. 5, 2004
DANVILLE, KYIf you think the Sears Tower in Chicago is just another tall building, think again. It's a work of art.
That's what students in Alysia Fischer's "Anthropology of Art" class have learned.
Fischer, visiting assistant professor of anthropology, took 17 students on a tour of Chicago museums during CentreTerm. Traveling through the city on the "El" train, the group visited the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio, and several other sites.
"My favorite museum was the Art Institute of Chicago," says Megan Dowdy, a senior anthropology major from Lexington, Ky. "I enjoyed seeing the artwork in person. Having had this course I was more intrigued by it, and I got to see some of the work from the artists I had read about."
Students from several different majors participated in the anthropology course, which emphasizes the importance of art in the everyday lives of Americans. Students discover that art is not only found in museums but also along the city streets in architecture and surroundings.
"I hadn't realized just how important art is to our everyday lives," says Julie Good, a senior anthropology/sociology major from Dallas. "We tend to take it for granted, and as a result of this class I know that I won't take art for granted anymore."
Fischer had several goals for the students during the five-day excursion.
"I wanted them to see the artworks in personsee things you can't see in a slide showand understand the artist more and their role in society," she says.
During their visit to the National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum (http://www.nvvam.org), the students viewed the veterans' artwork and came away with a better understanding of the war.
"The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum was one of the best things we did because it had such an impact," Fischer says. "Many of the students said, 'Now I know something about what my family went through.' It was a very emotional experience."
The experience also encouraged a few students to continue following their dreams and interests.
Good says she was especially excited to see the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.
"I have always been a fan of not just his buildings, but also the furniture and all the other minute details on which he worked," she says. "Seeing where he started was just remarkable to me. The way that they restored his home and studio really fascinated me because I am planning on a career in historic preservation."
Students kept a journal of their experiences to describe some of the interactions and connections they made with the art. They were to write one journal entry each day but Fischer said they had much more to say.
"What impressed me most is that they thought very deeply and made connections with the artconnections that I hadn't planned," she says.
For more on CentreTerm, go to http://www.centre.edu/web/admission/publications/centreterm.html.
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