Arts Encounters

Arts Encounters refers to engaging with works of art or performance. As in the case of Communication, students need to learn how to “read” works in the various arts disciplines. Understanding the “language” of the medium gives students a vocabulary for describing and analyzing what an artist or performer has done in the composition, and why (Example: “Diego Rivera used a tightly framed composition to accentuate the relationship between the flower carrier and his wife. The woman’s glance and the long ribbon lead our eyes to the partially covered face of the man, and his shoulders, which will carry the weight of the flowers.”)

Students of today are addicted to speed and interactivity. If something doesn’t engage them within a few seconds, they are on to something else. While some forms of performance and multimedia art do engage viewers in this way, other forms, such as visual art, clearly do not. This means that students need to be taught, first, how to take the space and time to notice and be present, and second, how to actively engage their full self in the process of viewing and engaging critically and analytically with works of art. This slide shows an example of one process that can be taught for engaging with a work of visual art.

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