NEWS & UPDATES: Visual Arts Is Now Serious Business At Universities

Arts, along with sciences, provide  important learning tools in education. They both have the same function: finding out about our world, which includes us—we as human beings. They differ however in methodology: art’s way is holistic, and science’s is reductionist—but  if done right, they come to the same conclusions. Unfortunately, the arts have always been accorded second class status in our culture of ‘explicitness’—words and numbers—while no one has time for the slower and more complete implicit understanding of things. Thomas Lentz, director of Harvard Art Museums, says,  ‘Arts will always fight the “alphanumeric bias,”… “if it is not text and not a number it is not considered knowledge.”’ Harvard is setting out to change that with the recent opening of a Renzo Piano-designed complex combining its three museums. This is part of a plan from president Drew Faust’s 2008 initiative “… to make the arts an integral part of the cognitive life of the university: for along with the sciences and the humanities, the arts—as they are both experienced and practiced—are irreplaceable instruments of knowledge.”  (my italics).  See my report here, Learning at Harvard. 


Learning at Harvard – Making Pottery & Watching Plants Grow  (Posted 12/16/2012)

11/16/2014    The New York Times reports on a  rush to build art spaces and museums on university campuses. This is not vanity but necessity: universities know that arts and sciences are equal and complementary learning tools.  See above  post here about Harvard’s concerted efforts to integrate arts and sciences since 2008. See also here my 2013 report on the new Berkeley Art Museum and the natural synergy of  art museums and science labs in universities.

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