Collegiate art course peeks outside museum

This semester, Tiffin University has introduced an art course that explores art beyond the walls of a museum.

Art 340, or Art Outside the Museum, covers public, outsider and street art genres, according to instructor Melanie Trost. “We will explore various artists and works found outside of museums, populist theory, inequities of the art market and conventional distinctions.”

Trost said an emphasis is to be placed on learning to identify and interpret stylistic elements, investigate the impact of the works on culture, and determine aesthetic and historical importance.

“The class is designed to allow students to experience these types of art both in and outside of the classroom via field trips and local artists who will visit campus,” Trost said.

The first field trip was to local art forms such as The Indian Maiden of Fort Ball, Tiffin Civil War Memorial and All Patriots Memorial.

“We often pass these types of art without giving thought to what they represent. I want to draw their attention to the public art that surrounds them,” she said.

Trost said she has 13 students enrolled in the course.

“I have many different majors, from forensic psychology to marketing and hospitality,” she said.

Junior hospitality and tourism management student Hannah Stevens of Mount Gilead said art has always been an interest.

“When I was younger, I was always making messes around the house with some kind of paint, clay, glitter or craft supply. I have taken as many art classes throughout school as I can, and this one was way too interesting to pass up,” Stevens said. “I love graffiti and I can’t wait until we get to the street art section of class. Some of the artists have so much talent, but get a terrible reputation.”

So far, Stevens said her favorite part of the class is a field trip to Gathered Art Gallery in Toledo.

“It was a great hands-on experience that was not only fun but educational, as well,” she said. “The guys that work there are great at what they do. Not many people can say they have done something like this, and their studio offers a great opportunity to experience something new.”

The students were able to create glass-blown flowers to take home, Trost said.

“The artists are all about engagement with the public and exposing people to art,” she said.

This month, Trost has invited local pop artist Danielle Herrera to talk to the students about what it means to be a self-taught artist and how that has impacted her work. She will talk about her struggles and demonstrate her methods to the class, Trost said.

Trost said the goal of the course is to increase awareness about artistic production outside the museum, local art, alternative art markets and ways to navigate boundaries and labels given to art.

“I hope the students gain an understanding and appreciation for art outside of the museum and consider other types of material culture,” she said.