100 Years of Academic Excellence: Focus on Art and Art History
Marking a century of higher education at Principia, 2012 is an ideal year to celebrate and highlight excellence across campus—in academics, athletics, and the arts—among our students and faculty, past and present.
This month we focus on study and training in art and art history, which have always been important aspects of the College curriculum. Over the years, Principia’s 68 emeriti faculty have included eight professors of fine art, studio art, or art history. This year alone, more than 40 students are majoring in art; many more are enrolled in various art and art history courses including Visual Fundamentals, Color Studies, Graphic Design, Drawing, Oil Painting, Three Dimensional Design, Printmaking, Introduction to Western Art, Ancient Art, Art of the Italian Renaissance, 19th Century European Art, and Advanced Studies in Early-to-Mid-20th Century Art.
See photos that capture some of the creativity these classes inspire in this month’s In Pictures.
The faculty team inspiring today’s art and art history students—David Coughtry, Daniel Kistler, Duncan Martin, and Danne Pike Rhaesa in studio art, Margaret D’Evelyn and Gregory Sandford in art history, and visiting studio art faculty member Kristin Serafini—is a dynamic group of dedicated teachers, working artists, scholars, writers, and more.
Chair Duncan Martin’s work has been exhibited at galleries, museums, and venues across the country, including a show opening February 4 at Davis Dominguez Gallery in Tucson. In his current painting project, 58 in 58, Martin plans to paint all 58 national parks in 58 months. Follow his paintings and travels at www.duncanmartin.squarespace.com.
David Coughtry, who currently teaches life drawing and oil painting, has had numerous solo shows and his works have been included in major traveling exhibitions. In 1999–2000, Coughtry was the recipient of a Florida Individual Fellowship Grant for painting.
Daniel Kistler joined the faculty in 1995 with an extensive background in commercial illustration and graphic design. His former clients include industry giants like Mercedes Benz, McDonald’s, Detroit Edison, and the “Big Three” U.S. automakers.
Professors Coughtry and Kistler recently returned from leading the fall 2011 Turkey and Greece Art Abroad. Visit the abroad website to meet the student-travelers, see photos, and read the trip blog. And don’t forget to check out this month’s Principia Wire video to learn more about this exciting study abroad adventure.
Danne Pike Rhaesa has a varied background that includes 16 years as an art instructor, work with Hallmark Cards, Inc., and owning a successful design/build company specializing in stone design. In October, one of Rhaesa’s larger works using salvaged forms was installed on the Edwardsville campus of Southern Illinois University as part of a public sculpture walk.
Teaching this year’s art history courses, Margaret D’Evelyn and Gregory Sandford provide students with access to original works of art and architecture, and guidance in independent research and writing.
D’Evelyn has studied art history on both coasts and as a visiting scholar for four years in Cambridge, England. This summer a scholarly book, to which she has devoted herself for more than twenty years, will be published—Venice and Vitruvius: Reading Venice with Daniele Barbaro and Andrea Palladio—a study of the architectural and intellectual culture that caused Venice to become the most beautiful of Renaissance cities.
This fall, history professor Gregory Sandford also taught an art history course where his past diplomatic career abroad with the Foreign Service, as well as his research and academic writing experience helped students understand even better how art, history, government, and religion are interrelated.
Award-winning author and illustrator of children’s books about the environment, Kristin Serafini joined the art faculty this year as a visiting professor while simultaneously beginning work on her MFA at the Vermont College of Art. Serafini is also the illustrator of five children’s books for The Christian Science Publishing Society.
Together, these seven professional educators are helping students hone their artistic skills, understand the art of yesterday and today, and explore the many facets and manifestations of creativity. From analyzing the scientific drawings of Leonardo da Vinci in a First Year Experience class to recreating textures, patterns, and graffiti observed on travels through Greece, Principia’s art students are always, as one student puts it, “developing new approaches to seeing things.”