Life Imitates Art

Student shares experience taking Visual Art Culture class


Photo submitted by Lauren Miller

Before walking the stage at graduation, nearly every student at BV has taken either an art or a history course. Whether it’s through painting or government class, the two subjects are staples in high schools across the nation, but the same cannot necessarily be said for their culmination as art history. 

Senior Lauren Miller, along with eight fellow students, decided to take advantage of the class’ return to BV this year.

“I had a lot of open space in my schedule,” she said. “I do like history, and I do like art, so I thought, ‘Why not? This is something that could be fun.’” 

Under the direction of Mark Mosier, the course focused on analysis and finding deeper meanings beyond brush strokes or color palettes. 

“We read the chapter and then we go through a presentation that has all of the artworks,” Miller said. “We discuss what contributed to them — the history, where they are now, culture, religion, etc.”

With aspirations to go into architecture, Miller values the skills and classroom experience with which art history has provided her. 

“A lot of what we’re learning is how to analyze something and get different perspectives,” she said. “Being in a class with people who have a lot of opinions, collaborating with other ideas, and listening to other people’s thoughts [will help me going forward].”

In addition to engaging with each other through discussion, art history students had the opportunity to engage with works themselves last November on a field trip to the Nelson Atkins Museum. 

“It’s nice to get outside the classroom — especially with a class that’s dealing with physical things,” Miller said. “You see a tiny little picture on a textbook page in class, and then you see it in person at 3 feet tall or 8 feet tall, and it really puts it into perspective.”

Even the concept of artistry itself, Miller explained, comes into question during class. For instance, the group has debated whether something as simple as a red square merits classification as a work of art. 

“It’s cool to see how subjective art can be,” Miller said. “You can start a conversation with anyone and it’s going to be a different answer.”