Art history by definition is the study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts. In 2018, a class focused around this subject was taught at Hewitt by Ms. Galin, a teacher who is now retired. When she left the school, the course was discontinued although it had been running for eight years prior. The Art History class was modeled after the format of the AP Art History exam. According to the College Board website, the goal of the course is and has been the following for many years: “To explore the history of art across the globe from prehistory to the present. You’ll analyze works of art through observation, discussion, reading, and research.” Through this structured course, students are expected to develop various different skills related to the evaluation of art. In the given class, students explore connections within artistic traditions which have been developed over time. Additionally, they learn how to create theories about what a piece of art is trying to convey to its audience.
In the fall of 2020, Hewitt is planning to eliminate AP classes from the course selection. Several other New York City private schools have already dropped advanced placement classes such as Fieldston, Riverdale, Trevor Day, and Berkely Carol as of 2011. Now, as Advanced Placement classes are gone, there is more freedom for students to select the classes that they are most interested in; there is considerably more room for “elective” like courses. The Art History class could be structured in a way which would allow students to choose certain areas to explore. This would allow a closer focus on specific areas of study, as students will not be preparing for a cumulative assessment.
A significant number of students have asked to bring this class back as they have an interest in exploring all art has to offer. The study of Art History would provide these students with a plentiful amount of insight into the history and cultures which we already learn about in detail. Art in all forms is a critical part of learning through visual representation, and it has the ability to tell a story better than words ever can. Here at The Hewitt School, there is an emphasis on creativity; this value is manifested in the study of art. Critical thinking and analysis are also valued and fostered. Only by delving into the various art forms, patterns, and resulting messages can students be able to master their literary skills in this field of unique expression. Questions will be asked and answers will be formed around questions such as; Has art gotten better or worse? How does art strike emotion? What is the connection between art and politics? How does art leave an impact on someone, and what is that impact? Look out students…. The artists are coming!