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We'll Take That One

Hood course lets students shape collections

Acquiring art is not something most students expect to do during their college years. Yet the Hood Museum of Art, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, offers a noncredit extracurricular class, Acquiring Great Art, where students have the rare opportunity to select a work of art for the museum's collection. The class is open to all students interested in learning more about the museum's collections and acquisitions process and cultivates a firsthand appreciation for the arts and the way museums work. The result is an exciting new work of art for the Hood and a chance for students to have a direct impact on the collections and the experience of future museum visitors.

Samantha Klau '05, Parker Barnes '08, and Katharine Boies '05
Samantha Klau '05, Parker Barnes '08, and Katharine Boies '05 (L-R) were among students who helped select a work of art for the Hood.

Now in its fourth year, Acquiring Great Art takes place over four two-hour sessions as museum staff members guide students through seminars on the Hood's holdings and the acquisitions process. Katherine Hart, the Barbara C. and Harvey P. Hood '18 Curator of Academic Programming and the Hood's interim director, notes, "We try to focus each course on one medium, such as photographs or prints, both of which have been very popular with students.

"Class size is limited in order to provide an intimate learning experience where everyone's voice really counts," she adds. "This class is popular with students who want ... a deeper appreciation for the arts and for the role of the museum as a teaching institution."

In February, twelve students made their mark on the collection through a course focused on prints and printmaking. Exploring the Hood's print collections in a session with Hart, they encountered masterworks by Rembrandt, Dürer, and Goya. Working with Associate Professor of Studio Art Louise Hamlin in the Hopkins Center print studio, they learned the intricate details of the printmaking process and practiced their new skills by creating a collaborative print.

Students explored the museum's recent print acquisitions and participated in a discussion of their relationship to other works in the collection with Bart Thurber, curator of European art. Thurber says the Hood has many masterworks in the collection. "We are focused on complementing our current collection with works that demonstrate the printmaking process," he notes. "We hope to expand upon our holdings of traditional areas of European and 19th-century prints with more diverse perspectives and works by women artists."

During the final session, participants met with a Boston-area art dealer and collectively selected Fêtes Populaire à Bruxelles, a remarkable 1928 print by    Jules De Bruycker. The museum will  exhibit the print in the near future, and its official credit line will include the names of the students in the course.

By SHARON REED

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Last Updated: 5/30/08