Degree focuses on Latin American architecture and expression
The undergraduate degree in art is an established degree at the University, but a new twist has been implemented, after an art history emphasis was added during
Associate professor of art Richard Phillips said the new track focuses heavily on the study of Latin American art and architecture.
“In this new degree, the students take several studio art courses so that means they understand what it means to be an artist, empathize with artists, and also be able to analyze art,” Phillips said. “We have always had a demand (for the track) and we wanted to take that demand and provide students with this opportunity.”
Phillips finished the course list that added the art history emphasis in 2009; the change was then approved by the University’s curriculum committee in early 2011 and afterward by President Robert Nelsen and VP for Academic Affairs and Provost Havidan Rodriguez.
“When I started coming up with these proposals around the year 2008, it took three years to put it all together,” Phillips recalled. “We can focus on one (topic of art history) really well that the students are interested in and we can do better than other flagship universities by making it stronger. Those universities usually only dedicate two faculty members to Latin American art history while we dedicate three.”
Carlos de Souza and Robert Bradley are associate professors involved with the art major. Along with Phillips, the three are experts on different time periods of Latin American art history.
“The major has a concentration in Latin American art because we have a population here that is very much Latino,” de Souza said. “We have classes on Latino art, and architecture, from the beginning of Mexican art in the pre-colonial times to the post-modern art.”
The degree requires a minimum of 127 hours to graduate, with 24 hours focused on upper-division art history courses. The art history emphasis in the BA in art will allow a student who graduates with the degree the opportunity to become an art historian, art appraiser, art archivist or teacher, among other things.
“The uses of this type of profession here in the Valley are many; for example, one is that we are lacking people who understand art, who can put together shows, who can help our museums go forward, and I think that this type of degree will provide this profession,” said De Souza. “A person with a very good background in art history can work in pretty much any field
As of 2010, there are currently 446 undergraduate students studying art majors at the University. Jessica Meza is a junior and one of the two currently declared art history majors.
“I am glad that (the university) finally offers art history as a degree,” Meza said. “It’s hard to find an affordable university that offers this major. I am hoping to do research in the future as an art historian.”