ABI Faculty Development Program Serving the needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander Students at BMCC and Hunter
Serving the needs of Asian American and Pacific Islander Students at BMCC and Hunter

My Personal Art History Project

Class information

Art 102 – Survey of Art History (I)

25 students

This introduction to the history of art includes the study of painting, sculpture, architecture and other media by surveying the Paleolithic period through the Late Gothic period using a global approach. The exploration of art and architecture viewed in terms of social, political, and cultural contexts, meanings and styles will promote a general understanding of the development of artforms in different continents and the effects of cultural exchange on the arts. Discussions of techniques, media, compositions, and representations will provide an understanding of key concepts in the meaning of art throughout the world. Museum visit required.


Project overview


The aim of this project, My Personal Art History Project, is to have students reflect on the intersection between art and themselves. What art, artist, subject matter, style, or composition stopped you in your tracks, and why? This exercise is centered on self-reflection, while allowing students to uncover the potential and value of art to transcend barriers and reflect identities. Since this assignment is completed at the start of the semester, it also helps to foreground the importance of the discipline of Art History as a field of inquiry and study, by first establishing our own personal connection with it.


Why did you select this project? How does it relate to identity and purpose?


This project naturally weaves the course content, centered on painting, sculpture, and architecture, with their own personal experiences with art and this type of media. Before presenting the project, I have students watch a video on art that inspired others: https://smarthistory.org/what-work-of-art-inspired-you/

After watching the video, students are asked to select an artwork or artist that speaks to their identity, and to explain their selection. Why did they select this artwork or artist, and what aspects of their identity (gender, cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, emotional, etc.) do they see represented in it. The crucial part of this assignment is not necessarily the selection itself, but rather the reasoning behind this selection.


What advice do you have for other faculty who would like to implement a similar project?


After executing this project during the Spring 2023 semester, I think that the worksheet requires additional prompts and more context so students are more energized and confident in their selection. I also recommend the instructor share his/her artistic selection first, in an attempt to model the thought process and strengthen the community building efforts of this project.


Related materials

https://abiseminaralums.commons.gc.cuny.edu/files/2023/04/AANAPISI_ProjectResponses_2023.docx, https://abiseminaralums.commons.gc.cuny.edu/files/2023/04/AANAPISI_Project_2023.docx

  1. AANAPISI Project Worksheet with prompt
  2. AANAPISI Project Worksheet responses

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