BYU offers classes on art appreciation

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    By JENNI LESTER

    The BYU Museum of Art is offering a new training program called the “Museum Teaching and Enrichment Class” that is designed to help people better appreciate art.

    Cheryl May, promotion director for the Museum of Art, said this is the most intensive and comprehensive education program ever offered through the Museum of Art.

    “It’s a way to build a whole body of information on how to talk about art and to appreciate art,” said Judith McConkie, Olympus High School advanced placement art history teacher.

    People who complete the class earn the title of docent. Docents are teachers at the museum who can conduct tours of the exhibitions, May said.

    “Docents are a group of highly committed and highly intelligent volunteers,” McConkie said.

    May said the class is open to museum members. Museum membership costs $30 for BYU students and $40 dollars for the general public. The program will last for 16 weeks, starting March 12, and will continue until June 25. The class will be conducted every Thursday evening starting at 7 p.m.

    May said the first nine weeks of the program will concentrate on art history and will be taught by McConkie. The last seven weeks will be taught by Herman DuToit, head of audience education and development for the museum, and will concentrate on effective museum teaching techniques, May said.

    McConkie said the part of the class she is teaching will include the historical aspect of art and art criticism. She said she will give a series of nine lectures using text by John Canaday, art critic for the New York Times. DuToit said McConkie’s section of the program will also include a class field trip to several architectural sites in Salt Lake City.

    DuToit said he will teach about the museum experience, interpreting art for the audience, and enhancing the museum experience.

    DuToit said the program will enable the museum’s docents to provide more information and unique insights to the quality of the art.

    “We are rapidly expanding the number of tours at the Museum of Art and this will help to supplement the already existing docents,” May said.

    McConkie said it is important to study art because it tells the human story.

    “It really is the most complete and efficient record of who we are as a people,” she said. “Art encompasses every human emotion.”

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