A look into UIndy’s art history minor

by Mia Lehmkuhl | Opinion Editor
Published: Last Updated on

While the University of Indianapolis has offered its art history minor since before Assistant Professor of Art History Noni Brynjolson began teaching in 2020. However Brynjolson said the group of students with an art history minor is still fairly small.

In total, like most other minors at UIndy, the art history minor requires 18 credit hours of classes to satisfy the curriculum requirement. Brynjolson primarily teaches these courses. There are several different courses that are either offered and/or required for students with an art history minor, according to senior art education major Hollie Duncan and the official curriculum guide. They are as follows:

  • History of Western Art I and II (ART 281 and 282)
  • Art Since 1900 (ART 384)
  • History of Photography (ART 387)
  • Women in Art (ART 389)
  • Directed Reading in Art History (ART 485)

“[Brynjolson] is great whenever you have something that you want to research. She is very helpful in that sense,” Duncan said. “My experiences have been great. I have learned a lot….”

Art history encompasses the perspectives and ideas of art throughout history, according to Duncan. Brynjolson thinks it’s important to learn about other cultures and time periods of history through art.

“It’s especially important for some of the art and design majors at UIndy as a way of deepening their practices as artists, whether they’re studio art majors or they’re working in art therapy or art education,” Brynjolson said. “It gives them that background of resources to draw from for their own practice… more broadly for undergraduate students at UIndy; I think it’s something that a lot of students, even beyond art… could be interested [in].”

Duncan

Art history courses are structured to ensure that students leave with a knowledge of major art movements, artists and artworks, as well as bigger ideas about culture, politics and power dynamics, Brynjolson said.

“I think it [art history] would give [students] a lot of insight and new ideas and perspectives of art,” Duncan said.  “Before, I didn’t really know much about [the history of art] and going into it was kind of nerve-wracking. But, I think it’s good for people to understand all of the different ideas that are in art history.”

Students of all disciplines can benefit from an art history minor, according to both Duncan and Brynjolson. One of the best ways to become a better artist, Brynjolson said, is to have a firm grasp of art history.

“For non-majors… it’s a way to pursue a passion that is outside of your immediate interest and your immediate degree requirements…,” Brynjolson said. “You just decide that you get really into it… you know that it’s not going to be your career, but you still want to learn more about specific artists or art movements.”

Currently, there is not an art history major offered at UIndy, but Brynjolson’s hope is that more students will show enough interest in the minor that in the future it may become a major. Students can declare an art history minor no matter what discipline their major is in by speaking with their Center for Advising and Student Achievement (CASA) advisor, according to Duncan.

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